Salami, fermented sausage and risk in Italy

Sorenne loves her salami  — or smallgoods as they are sometimes called in Australia.

soppresseNow its gone all artsy or artisanal but there’s still a microbiological risk.

As of the start of the 21st century, consumers have developed a growing interest in so called “traditional or artisanal” food. The renewed interest in this type of food is explained by consumers’ perception of these products. In fact, traditional food has a general positive image across Europe, and European consumers trade off the relative expense and time required for preparation of traditional food for its specific taste, quality, appearance, nutritional value, healthiness and safety (Almli et al., 2011 and Guerrero et al., 2009). Such food is often produced by small farms, and so the rural economy benefits from the increase in activity and profits through direct sales at local food markets (Berlin et al., 2009 and Carey et al., 2011).

Although the term “traditional foods” is widely used, the concept of traditional food products embraces different dimensions and there are hardly any definitions that clearly define traditional foods. In order to identify “traditional” foods, the EU legislation (EC, 2006a, EC, 2006b and EC, 2012) has defined criteria based on product designations that are linked to geographical origin or traditional production methods. In addition, the EuroFIR FP6 Network of Excellence provided a definition of traditional foods which includes statements about traditional ingredients, traditional composition and traditional type of production and/or processing method (Weichselbaum et al., 2009).

Among European countries, Italy is the lead producer of traditional foods and products such as foods with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), followed by France, Spain, Portugal and Greece (ISMEA, 2013). Additionally, it is estimated that Italy has around 5000 traditional local food products without any certification (CIA, 2015), which could represent an important resource contributing to the development and sustainability of rural areas, providing ample variety in food choice for the consumer and a remarkable income for the economy. With its 371 typical products, Veneto Region is the fourth Italian Region according to number of traditional food products after Toscana, Campania and Lazio (Mipaaf, 2014). In addition, since 2007, Veneto Region has implemented regional legislation which defines a simplified procedure to sell small quantities of traditional food products at local level directly from the producer to the consumer (DGR, 2007 and DGR, 2008). In Veneto Region, many typical fermented sausages such as salami and soppresse are produced with traditional technologies, and so the legislation has been focused firstly on these products and subsequently on other types of meat products (poultry and rabbit meat) and products of non-animal origin (canned food; fruit juices; flour and dried vegetables; bread and bakery products; extra virgin olive oil).

In relation to fermented sausages, the legislation defines the production season, the maximum number of animals that can be reared and the minimum rearing period for pigs on the production farm as well as the minimum hygienic pre-requisites of the work areas used for processing pork meat into fermented sausages. Since these sausages are mainly produced following traditional practice in small processing units, starter cultures are not added to the minced pork meat and ripening is carried out in rooms with less temperature and relative humidity control than that used by industrial manufacturers. Therefore, deviations in temperature and/or humidity can result in insufficient fermentation-drying processes, meaning the absence of pathogens in the final products is not assured. The presence of food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157, and Salmonella spp. in fermented sausages has been reported.

salamiConcerning L. monocytogenes, the pathogen was detected at the end of ripening in 40% of “Salsiccia Sarda” (a traditional Italian fermented sausage) with contamination levels always lower than 100 cfu/g ( Meloni et al., 2012), while a prevalence of 15% was reported in fermented sausages produced in northern Italy (De Cesare et al., 2007). Other studies conducted on traditional fermented sausages at the end of the ripening period showed a L. monocytogenes prevalence of 10% in France ( Thevenot et al., 2005), 16% in Spain (Martin et al., 2011), 42% in Greece (Gounadaki et al., 2008) and 60% in Portugal (Ferreira et al., 2007). The prevalence of Salmonella spp. in traditional fermented sausages is lower than Listeria: the presence of Salmonella was reported in two out of 38 batches of traditional Portuguese sausages (alheiras) ( Ferreira et al., 2007) and in three out of 21 (14%) batter samples of traditional Greek fermented sausages but not in the final products (ready to be sold) (Gounadaki et al., 2008). In relation to verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), including E. coli serotype O157:H7, for which meat and meat products are considered the main source of infection for humans, an overall VTEC prevalence of 16% was found in fresh pork sausages collected in the southern part of Italy ( Villani et al., 2005).

In addition, food-borne outbreaks associated with the consumption of fermented meats are reported in the literature. In Veneto Region of Italy, in January 2004, a family outbreak of E. coli O157 infection caused by a dry-fermented traditional salami made with pork meat and produced in a local plant occurred ( Conedera et al., 2007). In Norway, an outbreak caused by E. coli O103:H25 involving 17 patients was attributed to the consumption of fermented sausages ( Sekse et al., 2009). Concerning Salmonella, an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A involving 63 cases associated with the consumption of traditional pork salami was reported in Lazio Region of Italy ( Luzzi et al., 2007). Another outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium associated with the consumption of unripened salami was reported in Lombardia Region of Italy ( Pontello et al., 1998). L. monocytogenes outbreaks associated with the consumption of fermented sausages have not been reported, to our knowledge, even though L. monocytogenes has been implicated in several listeriosis outbreaks linked to the consumption of pre-sliced ready-to-eat deli meats ( Thevenot et al., 2006). The infective doses of the above-mentioned micro-organisms can vary widely according to several factors such as the strain, the susceptibility of the host, and the food matrix involved. In case of L. monocytogenes in susceptible individuals, it is unlikely that fewer than 1000 cells may cause disease ( EFSA, 2007). Concerning Salmonella the infective dose is variable but often low numbers of cells (between 10 and 1000) are sufficient to cause disease, the same for EHEC which is known for its low infective dose ( Strachan et al., 2005 and Teunis et al., 2010). The difference in dose-response relationship between the three pathogens may also, to some extent, explain the difference in stringency in surveillance. In European Regulation 2073/2005 (EC, 2005), tolerance of up to 100 cfu/g of L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat products is accepted at the end of shelf life, whereas usually action limits of absence of Salmonella and EHEC per 25 g are applicable.

In order to avoid the marketing of potentially hazardous traditional fermented pork sausages (Italian salami and soppresse) produced within the Veneto region, this study was initiated by the regional competent authorities in collaboration with the small-scale producers with the following aims: a) investigate the production process of traditional salami and soppresse in Veneto Region of Italy; b) identify the microbiological hazards associated with this type of food, and finally; c) identify control measures easily applicable directly by the Food Business Operator (FBO) with the supervision and control of the regional Competent Authority (CA) in order to manage the hazards associated with this type of traditional meat product.

Artisanal Italian salami and soppresse: Identification of control strategies to manage microbiological hazards

Journal of Food Microbiology

Volume 61, February 2017, p. 5-13

Roccato, Anna. Et al.

Be the bug: Cross-contamination amongst beef fillets

The objective of the present study was to determine the factors affecting the transfer of foodborne pathogens from inoculated beef fillets to non-inoculated ones, through food processing surfaces.

filetamericain1Three different levels of inoculation of beef fillets surface were prepared: a high one of approximately 107 CFU/cm2, a medium one of 105 CFU/cm2 and a low one of 103 CFU/cm2, using mixed-strains of Listeria monocytogenes, or Salmonella enterica Typhimurium, or Escherichia coli O157:H7. The inoculated fillets were then placed on 3 different types of surfaces (stainless steel-SS, polyethylene-PE and wood-WD), for 1 or 15 min. Subsequently, these fillets were removed from the cutting boards and six sequential non-inoculated fillets were placed on the same surfaces for the same period of time. All non-inoculated fillets were contaminated with a progressive reduction trend of each pathogen’s population level from the inoculated fillets to the sixth non-inoculated ones that got in contact with the surfaces, and regardless the initial inoculum, a reduction of approximately 2 log CFU/g between inoculated and 1st non-inoculated fillet was observed. S. Typhimurium was transferred at lower mean population (2.39 log CFU/g) to contaminated fillets than E. coli O157:H7 (2.93 log CFU/g), followed by L. monocytogenes (3.12 log CFU/g; P < 0.05). Wooden surfaces (2.77 log CFU/g) enhanced the transfer of bacteria to subsequent fillets compared to other materials (2.66 log CFU/g for SS and PE; P < 0.05).

Cross-contamination between meat and surfaces is a multifactorial process strongly depended on the species, initial contamination level, kind of surface, contact time and the number of subsequent fillet, according to analysis of variance. Thus, quantifying the cross-contamination risk associated with various steps of meat processing and food establishments or households can provide a scientific basis for risk management of such products.

Effect of inoculum size, bacterial species, type of surfaces and contact time to the transfer of foodborne pathogens from inoculated to non-inoculated beef fillets via food processing surfaces

Journal of Food Microbiology

Volume 62, April 2017, p. 51-57

Gkana, E. Et al.

Killer of old people and ‘everyone’s too anal’ about produce given awards by Canadian grocers

Pete Luckett (right in photo) and is one of this year’s recipients of the “Life Member Designation”, awarded for lifetime contributions to independent grocery in Canada.

cfig-lifetime-achievment-awardThree recipients for the annual award were announced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers on Tuesday.

What a circle jerk.

Luckett, founder of Halifax-based Pete’s Fine Foods, who has been growing and selling fresh produce for more than 45 years, famously said in 2005, when over 700 people in Ontario were sickened by raw sprouts, that, “everybody’s getting too anal about it. I mean, come on now, we’re dealing with living fruits and vegetables.”

Also getting an award this year is Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. He takes the “Spirit of the Independent Award,” given for his “significant contributions to the growth of the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadian grocers,” said Tom Barlow, chief executive at CFIG.

It was McCain’s deli meats in 2008 that killed 23 elderly Canadians with Listeria.

Way to go, Canada.


At least 1 sick: Sliced turkey and chicken products sold at Tre Rose Bakery in Toronto recalled due to Listeria

Tre Rose Bakery is recalling sliced turkey and chicken products from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

trereose-bakeryThe following product products were sliced and sold at Tre Rose Bakery, 2098 Kipling Avenue, Toronto, Ontario from September 15, 2016 to September 16, 2016, inclusively.

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

None//Lily O. R. Turkey//Variable//PACKED ON SE.15.16//Starting with 2 100252

None//Classic Turkey//Variable//PACKED ON SE.15.16//Starting with 2 100049

None//Brandt O. R. Chicken//Variable//PACKED ON SE.16.16//Starting with 2 100042

What you should do

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers who are unsure if they have purchased an affected product are advised to contact the retailer.

This recall was triggered by findings of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as part of an ongoing food borne illness investigation. The CFIA continues to conduct a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products.

There has been one reported illness associated with this investigation.

Mt Kisco Smokehouse recalls smoked salmon because of possible health risk

Mt Kisco Smokehouse of Mt Kisco, NY, is voluntarily recalling two types of smoked salmon because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

listeria-mt-kisco-smokehouse-salmonProduct was distributed in New York and Connecticut through retail stores and restaurants between 9/6/2016 to 9/16/2016.

The whole product is packed in an unlabeled paper box and delivered to restaurants.  The sliced product is sold in a clear plastic package and labeled on the back with lot and use by date.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the FDA inspection revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in floor drains and cracks in the floor.

Test and ye shall find: Listeria in Blue Bell ice cream, again

A supplier of cookie dough that Blue Bell Creameries blamed for a possible listeria contamination of some of its ice cream products said Thursday that its product tested negative for the pathogen before it was sent to the Texas-based company.

listeria-blue-bellBlue Bell announced Wednesday it was recalling select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South and made at its Sylacauga, Alabama, plant after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier — Iowa-based Aspen Hills Inc. — that was potentially contaminated with listeria.

Blue Bell halted sales, issued a voluntarily recall of all its products in April 2015 and shut down its three plants due to bacteria contamination that was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. The company, headquartered in Brenham, about 70 miles outside Houston, resumed selling its products about four months later. Before resuming production, the company said it had implemented new cleaning and sanitizing procedures at its facilities, as well as new testing programs and new employee training.

The iconic ice cream brand is beloved in Texas, where people impatiently awaited its return to store shelves after the recall.

No illnesses have been reported from the latest recall of ice cream distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, Blue Bell said.

Blue Bell said on Thursday in an email to The Associated Press that it found listeria contamination in packages of cookie dough ingredient received from Aspen Hills.

But a statement from Aspen Hills said its cookie dough product tested negative for listeria before it was shipped to Blue Bell and that the “positive listeria results were obtained by Blue Bell only after our product had been in their control for almost two months.”

Aspen Hills said that Blue Bell is the only customer who received the cookie dough product “included in our voluntary recall.” Blue Bell has been a customer of Aspen Hills since January.

Apple Tree Goat Dairy recalls four goat cheeses because of possible health risk

I don’t want apples in goat shit.

list-apple-tree-goatAnd don’t want Listeria in feta.

Apple Tree Goat Dairy of Richfield, PA is recalling Feta cheese aged 60 days lot #836, Gouda Cheese aged 60 days Lot #426 Pasturized chevre Lot #816, in 5 lb. or 8 oz. and French Herb Chevre Lot #736 in 8 oz. Or 5 lb. because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, .

Product may have been distributed in Washington DC, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia thru Lancaster co-op.

The Chevre lot #816 was in 8 oz. shrink wrapped bags, French herb chevre lot #736 was packaged in 8oz. Shrink bag. Both Chevre may also have been in 5 lb. plastic tubs. The Feta lot #836 with expiration 12/16 and Gouda lot 426 was a square block 8oz package or a 5 lb block, also shrink wrapped.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The samples collected by Pennsylvania were found to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes. We are currently working with PA Department of Agriculture to resolve the issue.

WTF is listeria doing in Eggos

I’ve always been suspicious of Kellogg Co.

eggoSure, as a kid, I loved Tony the Tiger, but then I grew up.

The company founded on fairytales and colonic cleansing in Michigan, the company that said in the wake of the 2009 Peanut Corporation of America that called for more government because its own internal audits of suppliers was so terribly shitty, is now recalling about 10,000 cases of its Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles in 25 states because they could be contaminated with listeria.

The Battle Creek, Michigan company said Monday it has received no reports of illnesses. Kellogg says it learned of the potential problem after routine tests.

The recalled waffles are available in 10-count packs with “Used by” dates of Nov. 21, 2017 and Nov. 22, 2017. Kellogg Co., which also makes Frosted Flakes and Special K, said no other Eggo products were affected.

Crabs, marinade and pathogens

Knowing the survival characteristics of foodborne pathogens in raw ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood is the key to predicting whether they pose a microbiological hazard. The present study examined the survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Vibrio parahaemoliticus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aure- us in raw RTE crab marinated in soy sauce.

cartooncrab_1_jpg103a1464-d351-465e-90ed-f6ab47e3c8bboriginalInoculated crabs (initial bacterial population = 4.1–4.4 log CFU/g) were immersed in soy sauce and then stored at refrigeration (5 °C) or room temperature (22 °C) for up to 28 days. At 5 °C, all bacteria (except V. parahaemolyticus) survived in crab samples until Day 28 (counts of 1.4, 1.6, 3.1, 3.2 log CFU/g for E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus, respectively). Howev- er, at 22 °C, all tested bacteria were more susceptible to the antimicrobial effects of marination. Regardless of tem- perature, foodborne pathogens attached to crab samples were more resistant to marination than those suspended in soy sauce samples; however, the survival pattern for each species was different. Gram-positive bac- teria were most resistant to marination conditions (high salinity, low pH), whereas V. parahaemolyticus was ex- tremely susceptible.

Marination is the only antibacterial step in the manufacturing processes; however, the results presented herein reveal that this is not sufficient to inactivate foodborne pathogens. In particular, the survival of pathogens on crabs at refrigeration temperature may pose a major hazard for the consumption of raw RTE seafood. Thus, appropriate decontamination methods and implementation of safety management practices are needed.

This study provides predictive microbiological information of foodborne pathogens in raw RTE seafood with margination.

Survival of foodborne pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus) in raw ready-to-eat crab marinated in soy sauce

International Journal of Food Microbiology 238 (2016) 50–55, DOI:

TJ Cho, NH Kim, SA Kim, JH Song

Listeria can be sticky

This study evaluated the occurrence of L. monocytogenes in the processing environment of a butcher shop, and the in vitro adhesion capacity and sensitivity of isolates to two sanitizers: A (Mister MaxDG1, chlorine based) and B (B-Quart Sept, quaternary ammonium based).

rolling_stones-sticky_fingersOf the total of 40 samples, 75% were positive for Listeria spp. and 22.5% for L. monocytogenes. 20 isolates were from serogroup 1/2c or 3c, with positive results for all tested virulence genes. All isolates presented adhesion potential. The evaluated sanitizers had the potential to inhibit isolates growth and adhesion, and removed formed biofilms. After evaluation, the sanitizers were adopted by the butcher shop in its sanitation routine, being effective against L. monocytogenes.

Collected data allowed identification of adhesion potential by L. monocytogenes and the effectiveness of the tested sanitizers to control contamination by this pathogen.

Listeria spp. contamination in a butcher shop environment and Listeria monocytogenes adhesion ability and sensitivity to food-contact surface sanitizers

Journal of Food Safety, DOI: 10.1111/jfs.12313, ahead of print

DAL Silva, AC Camargo, SD Todorov, LA Nero;jsessionid=302167477C8A0B64C7E52E6E08696398.f03t02