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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: Foodborne viruses

item Richards, Gary
item Cliver, Dean
item Greening, Gail

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2011
Publication Date: 1/20/2013
Citation: Richards, G.P., Cliver, D.O., Greening, G. 2013. Foodborne viruses.In: S. Doores, Y. Salfinger and M.L. Tortorello. Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination of Foods, 5th Edition, American Public Health Association, Washington, DC. Book Chapter. Doi:10.2105/MBEF.0222.049.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Testing for human pathogenic viruses in foods represents a formidable task requiring the extraction, concentration, and assay of a host of viruses from a wide range of food matrices. The enteric viruses, particularly genogroup I and II (GI and GII) noroviruses and hepatitis A virus, are the principal foodborne pathogens and will be the focus of this chapter. We describe the incidence of viruses in various foods, routes of food contamination, virus reservoirs and persistence, and the evolution of assay methods from cultural to molecular-based. Outbreaks associated with foods are described with emphasis on shellfish, produce, meats, bakery products, and ready-to-eat foods. Methods to extract viruses from shellfish, fruits and vegetables, and meat products are highlighted along with procedures used to concentrate viruses for testing and to eliminate assay inhibitors, like polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids. The assay of extracted viruses by integrated cell culture PCR and standard or real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) is covered along with information about PCR inhibitors, the need for appropriate controls, primer and probe selection, interpretation of results, the need to validate methods, and new approaches to detect infectious and inactivated viruses. Since there are no standard methods for virus extraction or assay, we provide details of several methods which have some potential for use in monitoring foodborne viruses.

Last Modified: 08/22/2017
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