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Article

Frozen Vegetable Processing Plants Can Harbour Diverse Listeria monocytogenes Populations: Identification of Critical Operations by WGS

1
Research Group on Microbiology and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables, CEBAS-CSIC, 30100 Murcia, Spain
2
CETAL, Centro Tecnológico Agroalimentario de Lugo, 27002 Lugo, Spain
3
Department of Food Hygiene and Technology, Universidad de León, 24007 León, Spain
4
Institute of Food Science and Technology, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Evandro Leite de Souza
Foods 2022, 11(11), 1546; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11111546
Received: 5 April 2022 / Revised: 12 May 2022 / Accepted: 16 May 2022 / Published: 25 May 2022
Frozen vegetables have emerged as a concern due to their association with foodborne outbreaks such as the multi-country outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes serogroup IVb linked to frozen corn. The capacity of L. monocytogenes to colonize food-processing environments is well-known, making the bacteria a real problem for consumers. However, the significance of the processing environment in the contamination of frozen foods is not well established. This study aimed to identify potential contamination niches of L. monocytogenes in a frozen processing plant and characterize the recovered isolates. A frozen vegetable processing plant was monitored before cleaning activities. A total of 78 points were sampled, including frozen vegetables. Environmental samples belonged to food-contact surfaces (FCS); and non-food-contact surfaces (n-FCS). Positive L. monocytogenes samples were found in FCS (n = 4), n-FCS (n = 9), and the final product (n = 1). A whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis revealed two clusters belonging to serotypes 1/2a-3a and 1/2b-3b). The genetic characterization revealed the presence of four different sequence types previously detected in the food industry. The isolate obtained from the final product was the same as one isolate found in n-FCS. A multi-virulence-locus sequence typing (MVLST) analysis showed four different virulence types (VT). The results obtained highlight the relevant role that n-FCS such as floors and drains can play in spreading L. monocytogenes contamination to the final product. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental monitoring; whole genomic sequencing; freezing plants; food safety; microbial risk environmental monitoring; whole genomic sequencing; freezing plants; food safety; microbial risk
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MDPI and ACS Style

Truchado, P.; Gil, M.I.; Querido-Ferreira, A.P.; Capón, C.L.; Álvarez-Ordoñez, A.; Allende, A. Frozen Vegetable Processing Plants Can Harbour Diverse Listeria monocytogenes Populations: Identification of Critical Operations by WGS. Foods 2022, 11, 1546. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11111546

AMA Style

Truchado P, Gil MI, Querido-Ferreira AP, Capón CL, Álvarez-Ordoñez A, Allende A. Frozen Vegetable Processing Plants Can Harbour Diverse Listeria monocytogenes Populations: Identification of Critical Operations by WGS. Foods. 2022; 11(11):1546. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11111546

Chicago/Turabian Style

Truchado, Pilar, María I. Gil, Ania P. Querido-Ferreira, Cecilia L. Capón, Avelino Álvarez-Ordoñez, and Ana Allende. 2022. "Frozen Vegetable Processing Plants Can Harbour Diverse Listeria monocytogenes Populations: Identification of Critical Operations by WGS" Foods 11, no. 11: 1546. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11111546

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