Examining cross contamination pathways for foodborne pathogens in a retail deli environment using an abiotic surrogate
Maitland, Jessica Ellen
MetadataShow full item record
Understanding potential cross contamination pathways is essential to reducing the risk of food product contamination. The use of a fluorescing abiotic surrogate (GloGermTM) to visualize the potential spread of bacteria may be beneficial to researchers. To quantify cross contamination during experimental trials in a mock retail deli, a rating method for visualization of fluorescence levels using a trained sensory panel was developed. Panelists feedback led to a pre-defined strategy allowing for characterization of contamination seen in photographs and reduced variability within responses. Following validation, GloGermTM was used to visually represent how bacteria may spread through a deli environment. Six origination sites (slicer blade, meat chub, floor drain, preparation table, employee's glove, employee's hands) were evaluated separately and spread was photographed throughout the mock deli. The trained sensory panel then analyzed the photographs. Five of the six contamination origination sites transferred GloGermTM to surfaces throughout the mock deli. Contamination from the floor drain did not spread to any food contact surfaces. To determine the potential of using a GloGermTM/ bacteria mixture to simultaneously track and sample contamination spread; surfaces were co-inoculated with GloGermTM and bacteria to determine if co-inoculation would affect the recoverability of microorganisms from these surfaces. Three common foodborne bacteria (E. coli O157:H7,Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria innocua) were inoculated on 2 by 2 stainless steel coupons alone and with GloGermTM . There was no significant difference found (p > 0.05) between the recovery of bacteria alone and the mixture for all bacteria. Finally, the use of co-inoculation was further explored by inoculating two contamination origination sites with either bacteria alone (L. monocytogenes and L. innocua) or a GloGermTM/bacteria cocktail. Nine recipient sites were sampled after a series of deli procedures were performed. Generally, no significant differences (p>0.05) were seen between the transfer of bacteria inoculated alone and the transfer of bacteria inoculated with GloGermTM to the selected recipient sites, regardless of contamination source or bacteria. These results suggest there may be potential in using L. innocua in combination with GloGermTM to visually track and sample contamination from a known source throughout a retail deli environment.
- Doctoral Dissertations