Submitted to: Foodborne Pathogens Analysis Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2001
Publication Date: 7/15/2001
Citation: Cray, P.J., Jackson, C.R., Hall, M.C. 2001. Presence of enterococci on grocery and their resistance patterns. Foodborne Pathogens Analysis Conference.
Technical Abstract: Recently, there has been much concern over transfer of antimicrobial resistant bacteria from the food supply into the human population. Because bacteria such as enterococci have natural gene transfer mechanisms and can harbor multiple resistances, it is important to ascertain any connection between enterococci isolated from humans and enterococci originating in food. In this study, twenty different food items (vegetables, fruits, and meats) were obtained from six popular grocery store chains. The items were rinsed with saline solution and aliquots of each rinsate were plated onto various media for the isolation of enterococci and other bacteria. Approximately 46% (110/240) of the samples were positive for enterococci. Sixteen antimicrobials were used to generate antimicrobial resistance profiles for the isolates. Enterococci were most often recovered from potatoes than any other food item. Enterococci were isolated from all of the meat items tested. Of the Enterococcus species recovered, 35% were E. faecalis, 31% were E. casseliflavus, and 34% were other Enterococcus species. Enterococcus faecium, thought to be equally as prevalent in nature as E. faecalis, represented only 11% of the total enterococci isolated from grocery samples. Ninety-three percent of the E. faecalis and E. casseliflavus were resistant to bacitracin while 92% of these species were resistant to lincomycin. Only one isolate of E. faecalis was resistant to vancomycin. None of the enterococci isolates were resistant to Synercid, virginiamycin, flavomycin, or salinomycin. These data suggest that foods commonly purchased and consumed from grocery stores are a source of enterococci.