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Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes contamination in ready-to-eat sandwiches collected from vending machines

Francesca Cossu, Carlo Spanu, Silvia Deidda, Erica Mura, Daniele Casti, Carlo Pala, Sonia Lamon, Vincenzo Spanu, Michela Ibba, Elena Marrocu, Christian Scarano, Andrea Piana, Enrico Pietro Luigi De Santis
  • Francesca Cossu
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Carlo Spanu
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Silvia Deidda
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Erica Mura
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Daniele Casti
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Carlo Pala
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Sonia Lamon
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Vincenzo Spanu
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Michela Ibba
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Elena Marrocu
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Christian Scarano
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy | scarano@uniss.it
  • Andrea Piana
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Enrico Pietro Luigi De Santis
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy

Abstract

Ready-to-eat (RTE) food is characterised by a long shelf-life at refrigerated temperature and can be consumed as such, without any treatment. The aim of the work was to evaluate the presence of Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes in RTEs collected from refrigerated vending machines placed in hospital environment and accessible to the hospitalised patients. In 4 different sampling, 55 RTEs were collected from vending machines of six hospitals located in different areas of Sardinia region. All the samples were characterised by similar manufacturing process, such as the use of modified atmosphere packaging and belonged to 5 different producers. Listeria spp. was not countable using the enumeration method in all of the analysed samples. Using the detection method, Listeria spp. was recovered from 9 sandwich samples. Interestingly, 3 of these samples (5.5%) made by the manufacturer, were positive for L. monocytogenes contamination. The risk related to the L. monocytogenes presence in RTEs proportionally increases when food is introduced in susceptible environments, such as hospitals and consumed by susceptible people. Although the RTEs analysed showed values that complied with the European microbiological criteria for foodstuffs, the availability of these products in a susceptible environment should be carefully checked. Therefore, in order to limit the possible exposition to L. monocytogenes, more information on the risk related to RTE consumption should be provided to the hospitalised patients.

Keywords

Listeria monocytogenes; Ready-to-eat sandwiches; Vending machines

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Submitted: 2015-08-25 11:28:40
Published: 2016-05-11 09:28:06
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Copyright (c) 2016 Francesca Cossu, Carlo Spanu, Silvia Deidda, Erica Mura, Daniele Casti, Carlo Pala, Sonia Lamon, Vincenzo Spanu, Michela Ibba, Elena Marrocu, Christian Scarano, Andrea Piana, Enrico Pietro Luigi De Santis

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