The microbiological safety of ready-to-eat specialty meats from markets and specialty food shops: A UK wide study with a focus on Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

F. J. Gormley*, C. L. Little, K. A. Grant, E. de Pinna, James McLauchlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From 2359 specialty meats (continental sausages, cured/fermented, dried meats) sampled from markets and specialty food shops, 98.9% of samples were of satisfactory or acceptable microbiological quality. However, 16 (0.7%) were unsatisfactory as a result of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Listeria spp. contamination (≥102 CFU/g), and nine (0.4%) were unacceptable due to presence of Salmonella spp. or Listeria monocytogenes (>102 CFU/g). Meats with unacceptable levels of L. monocytogenes were within shelf life (range: 8-143 days remaining). Nine different subtypes of L. monocytogenes were detected with sero/AFLP type 1/2c VII predominating (37%), although this subtype was not overrepresented in any particular meat type (P > 0.05). Ninety-six percent of continental sausages and cured/fermented products were stored at <8 °C at premises, including seven of the nine unacceptable samples. These nine meats were all pre-packed prior to supply to retail premises (OR = 0.1 P = 0.003) indicating that contamination with bacterial pathogens occurred earlier in the production chain. Most samples (72.7%, 8/11) with unsatisfactory levels of E. coli were sliced on request, suggesting cross-contamination at point of sale. This study highlights the importance of ensuring that products do not become contaminated before final packaging, that storage conditions are controlled, and that durability dates are an accurate indication of the shelf life of the product so as to minimise the potential for L. monocytogenes to be present at levels hazardous to health at the point of sale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalFood Microbiology
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Keywords

  • Continental sausage
  • Dried meats
  • Fermented meats
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Salmonella

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