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The aerosolisation phenomenon. Aerosol droplets and cross-contamination risks in the food industry

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... Furthermore, they are also often associated with rinsing or cleaning operations e.g. high pressure cleaning of drains or floors (Faille and Billet, 2020), which causes the dispersion of water droplets over distances sometimes exceeding 2 m in height and 5 m in length (Holah, 2018). One of the major problems posed by these bioaerosols is that some harmful bacteria are able to survive inside droplets or even resist further desiccation. ...
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The retention of bacteria on food contact surfaces increases the risk of cross-contamination of these microorganisms to food. The risk has been considered to be lowered when the surfaces are dry, partly because bacterial growth and survival would be reduced. However, some non-spore-forming bacteria might be able to withstand dry conditions on surfaces for an extensive period of time. In this study the survival of Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus and Campylobacter jejuni on stainless steel surfaces at different initial levels was determined at room temperature. The transfer rates of these pathogens from kitchen sponges to stainless steel surfaces and from these surfaces to foods were also investigated. Staph. aureus was recovered from the surfaces for at least 4 days when the contamination level was high (10 5 CFU/cm2) or moderate (103 CFU/cm 2). At low levels (10 CFU/cm2), the surviving numbers decreased below the detection limit (4 CFU/100 cm2) within 2 days. S. enteritidis was recovered from surfaces for at least 4 days at high contamination levels, but at moderate level, the numbers decreased to the detection limit within 24 h and at low level within 1 h. C. jejuni was the most susceptible to slow-air-drying on surfaces; at high contamination levels, the numbers decreased below the detection limit within 4 h. The test microorganisms were readily transmitted from the wet sponges to the stainless steel surfaces and from these surfaces to the cucumber and chicken fillet slices, with the transfer rates varied from 20% to 100%. This study has highlighted the fact that pathogens remain viable on dry stainless steel surfaces and present a contamination hazard for considerable periods of time, dependent on the contamination levels and type of pathogen. Systematic studies on the risks of pathogen transfer associated with surface cleaning using contaminated sponges provide quantitative data from which a model of risks assessment in domestic setting could lead.
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Enterobacter sakazakii (E. sakazakii) contamination of powdered infant formula (PIF) and its processing environment was monitored between April 2005 and March 2006. The purpose of the monitoring programme was to locate points of contamination, investigate clonal persistence, and identify possible dissemination routes along the processing chain. A total of 80 E. sakazakii isolates were recovered from the manufacturing facility. The overall frequency of isolation of E. sakazakii in intermediate and final product was 2.5%, while specific locations in the processing environment were contaminated at frequencies up to 31%. All E. sakazakii isolates were characterised by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). XbaI macrorestriction digests yielded 19 unique pulse-types that could be grouped into 6 clusters of between 5 and 32 isolates. The formation of large clusters was consistent with the presence of a number of clones in the manufacturing environment. While the majority of isolates were of environmental origin (72.5%), no cluster was confined to one specific location and indistinguishable PFGE profiles were generated from isolates cultured from the manufacturing environment, sampling points along the processing chain and from intermediate and final product. These findings suggest that the manufacturing environment serves as a key route for sporadic contamination of PIF. These data will support the development of efficient intervention measures contributing to the reduction of E. sakazakii in the PIF processing chain.
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The objective of this study was to determine the factors involved in the transfer of Listeria monocytogenes from surfaces to foods. We evaluated the influence of surface type (stainless steel and high-density polyethylene), inoculation method (biofilm growth and attached cells), hydration level (visibly dry and wet), and food type (bologna and American cheese). Each experiment included all 16 combinations and was repeated 11 times. A four-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes was used to inoculate stainless steel and high-density polyethylene either as growing biofilms or attached cells. Slides were placed on a universal testing machine and brought into contact with food at a constant pressure (45 kPa) and time (30 s). Food slices were blended, the number of transferred cells was determined by plating, and the efficiency of transfer (EOT) was calculated. The results strongly suggest that stainless steel surfaces transferred more L. monocytogenes to foods than did polyethylene (P = 0.05). Independent of the surface, biofilms tended to transfer more L. monocytogenes to foods (EOT = 0.57) than did attached cells (EOT = 0.16). Among foods, L. monocytogenes was transferred to bologna more easily than to cheese (P < 0.05). The impact of hydration on transfer was significantly higher for dried biofilms growing on stainless steel (P < 0.05). No significant differences for hydration were seen under other conditions (P > 0.05). We hypothesize that drying weakens cell-to-cell interactions in biofilms and cell-to-surface interactions of biofilms and thus allows increased transfer of cells to food products.
Characteristics of Biological Aerosols in Dairy Processing Plants
  • Y J Kang
  • J F Frank
Kang YJ, Frank JF. Characteristics of Biological Aerosols in Dairy Processing Plants. J Dairy Sci [Internet]. 1990;73(3):621-6. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(90)78712-7