Listeria plentiful in BC ready-to-eat seafood at retail

Hockey goon and budding academic Kevin Allen of the University of British Columbia says there’s lots of listeria in ready-to-eat seafood in British Columbia (that’s in Canada).

According to a new paper in Food Microbiology, Allen along with Lili Mesak and Javana Kova?evic found lots of anti-microbial resistant Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat salmon, but none in RTE deli meats. The paper offers a thorough microbiologial and genomic description of the listeria strains isolated but what this means for consumers is less clear.

But Kevin, describing listeria-vulnerable populations as “the really young and the elderly?” What about the really, really young? Or the super-young. The uber-young?

Abstract below.

Occurrence and characterization of Listeria spp. in ready-to-eat retail foods from Vancouver, British Columbia
02.jan.12
Food Microbiology
Jovana Kova?evi?, Lili R. Mesak, Kevin J. Allen
Abstract
The occurrence of Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes in retail RTE meat and fish products in Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) was investigated. To assess potential consumer health risk, recovered L. monocytogenes isolates were subjected to genotypic and phenotypic characterization. Conventional methods were used to recover Listeria spp. from deli meat (n=40) and fish (n=40) samples collected from 17 stores. Listeria spp. were recovered only from fish samples (20 %); 5 % harboured L. innocua, 5 % had L. monocytogenes and 10 % contained L. welshimeri. Listeria monocytogenes isolates serotyped as 1/2a and 1/2b, possessed dissimilar PFGE patterns, and had full-length InlA. Three 1/2a clonal isolates encoded the 50 kb genomic island, LGI1. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiling showed all Listeria spp. possessed resistance to cefoxitin and nalidixic acid. Listeria monocytogenes were resistant to clindamycin, two were resistant to streptomycin, and one to amikacin. Reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin was seen in all L. monocytogenes, L. innocua and three L. welshimeri isolates. Reduced susceptibility to amikacin and chloramphenicol was also observed in one L. monocytogenes and three L. welshimeri isolates, respectively. Recovery of L. monocytogenes in fish samples possessing AMR, full-length InlA, LGI1, and serotypes frequently associated with listeriosis suggest B.C. consumers are exposed to high-risk strains.
Highlights
? Listeria spp. were frequently recovered from RTE salmon samples, but not deli meat. ? High risk strains of L. monocytogenes were present in BC retail RTE seafood. ? This is the first report of the LGI1 genomic island from retail RTE seafood. ? AMR was observed in all Listeria, and included clinically relevant antimicrobials