In the European Union, food is considered safe with regard to Listeria monocytogenes if its numbers do not exceed 100 cfu/g throughout the shelf-life of the food. Therefore, it is important to determine if a food supports growth of L. monocytogenes. Challenge tests are laboratory-based studies that measure the growth of L. monocytogenes on artificially contaminated food stored under foreseeable conditions of transportation, distribution and storage. The aim of this study was to elaborate and optimize a user-friendly protocol to perform challenge tests on food and to apply it to determine whether growth of L. monocytogenes is supported during the production and distribution of a potentially risky food i.e. mushrooms. A three-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes was inoculated onto three independent batches of whole mushrooms, sliced mushrooms, mushroom casing and mushroom substrate at a concentration of about 100 -1000 cfu/g. The batches were incubated at potential abuse temperatures, as a worst case scenario, and at intervals during storage L. monocytogenes numbers, % moisture and pH were determined. The results showed that the sliced and whole mushrooms supported growth of L. monocytogenes while mushroom casing allowed survival but did not support growth. Mushroom substrate showed a rich background microflora able of growing in Listeria selective media which hindered enumeration of L. monocytogenes. Combase predictions were not always accurate, indicating that challenge tests are a necessary part of growth determination of L. monocytogenes.
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2014|
|Event||ASSET 2014: Food Integrity and Traceability Conference - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom|
Duration: 08 Apr 2014 → 10 Apr 2014
|Conference||ASSET 2014: Food Integrity and Traceability Conference|
|Period||08/04/2014 → 10/04/2014|