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BLG351 Applied Microbiology

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BLG351 Applied Microbiology

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Course Code: BLG351
University: Ryerson University

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Country: Canada


See page 99 of the lecture slides from the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that show an Editorial Commentary on the topic of hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic resistance.
Look at the on-line version of this example, and use its style to guide you to write a Commentary that highlights the widespread problem of Listeria outbreaks in the food processing industry.
Do a search on the 2008 outbreak at a Maple Leaf Foods plant, and further searches on outbreaks globally since then. Also look at the topics on the slides on Effect of environmental conditions on growth and Control of microbial growth, and use some of these in your commentary. 
Include information related to, amongst others:
The health and financial implications of Listeria outbreaks
Why Listeria contamination is such a problem
Methods used to monitor Listeria, including suggestions that you would make
Strategies used by the food industry to prevent such outbreaks


Listeria is found in most food plants where it causes contamination. Strains of L. monocytogenes have been cited in industries where they have persisted despite efforts to clean and sanitize them. Therefore, contamination by Listeria outbreaks is such a problem (Kate et al., 2015).
Health and financial implications of Listeria outbreaks
Listeria outbreak has financial implications such as medical and non-medical costs, losses in productivity, losses in food plants and costs incurred by federal agencies as they respond to outbreaks. The cost is estimated to cost approximately $ 2.8 million in Canada (Kate et al., 2015).
The estimation provides a clear overview on the financial burden caused by foodborne diseases and outbreaks to an individual and the population. Understanding the economic burden of Listeria monocytogenes supports the need for efficient prevention and control activities. (Hussain & Dawson, 2013).
According to MedicineNet (2010), the global economic burden of listeriosis is said to be 23, 000 cases of morbidity and 5500 mortality cases in 2010. Listeriosis is a rare disease. Nevertheless, invasive listeriosis causes severe symptoms such as meningitis, endephalitis and sepsis. The disease is more vulnerable to the immunocompromised, unborn children and pregnant women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).
Why Listeria contamination is such a problem.
Listeria contamination is a major problem because the pathogen can withstand low refrigeration temperatures. It can also live inside refrigerated foods for months. Furthermore, it can live in frozen products for several years, making it hard to detect. It grows at a slow rate and it does not compete with other cold tolerant microorganisms (UK News, 2018).
Listeria is a dreadful pathogen because it kills more people compared to people infected by the microorganism. Public health data reveals that 1600 people are infected annually, and out of those infected, 260 end up dying (Sabrina, 2016).
Listeria contamination is a manageable at home condition for the healthy adults. However, the disease is fatal to the high risk group of people who include infants, pregnant women, elderly people and HIV patients (Demakos, 2008).
Methods used to monitor Listeria outbreaks.
Environmental monitoring systems detect when and where Listeria occurs. The systems approach targets areas around food plants and food contact equipment. A floor drain is a good place to test and detect presence of Listeria in a food plant because almost everything ends up in the drain. The monitoring involves swabbing drains after washing food equipment (David, 2012).
Furthermore, it is easy to detect Listeria especially when working with fresh food produce. Rigorous testing of equipment and sanitation can find and destroy Listeria within a particular point. The initial finding of Listeria in a particular place should trigger a thorough cleaning and sanitation exercise with retesting to eliminate traces of the pathogen (Ivanek & Grohn, 2004).
 Moreover, Listeria can be monitored through finished product testing that detects presence of the pathogen in finished food products from food industries (Demakos, 2008).
Strategies used by the food industry to prevent such outbreaks.
The stakeholders and people involved in the food industry emphasize on preventing Listeria outbreaks. The strategies include sanitizing and cleaning food processing areas such as equipment used in food processing and conveyor belts (Vincent, 2018).
Food industries emphasize on constant sampling of environments around the food plants for the detection and surveillance of Listeria. The initiative gives food industries an alert on the presence of a Listeria outbreak and the plants can input mechanisms to handle the situation (David, 2012).
Food industries ensure that the environment in which they work on is dry and clean. Common sites within the food industry with potential of contamination include walls, floors, food contact surfaces, drain and wash areas. Such places need meticulous cleaning. Furthermore, attention is paid to prevent contamination of refrigeration equipment. Routine testing and visual inspection is done to keep a food plants clean (Vincent, 2018).
In conclusion, Listeria outbreak in food plants is a major cause of alarm. The outbreak has financial and health implications. Listeria contamination is a major problem because of the nature of the microorganism since it can withstand low refrigeration temperatures. Therefore, food plants should input strategies to monitor outbreaks of Listeria. Listeria contamination is a problem that rarely occurs but it has adverse effects when it occurs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, January 27). Preventing Foodborne Diseases:Listeriosis. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from centers for disease contril and Prevention: https://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/p0000005/p0000005.asp
David, E. (2012, May 2012). Environmental Monitoring for Listeria: Getting started. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from Food Safety: https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/april-may-2012/environmental-monitoring-for-listeria-getting started/
Demakos, P. (2008, December 1). Prevent and Control Listeria. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from Food Quality and Safety: https://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/article/prevent-and-control=listeria/
Gaynor, S. (2018, July 18). Cost of listeria outbreak:Greenyard estimates USD 30 million impact. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from Food ingredients: https://m.foodingredients.com/news/cost-of-listeria-oubreak-greenyard-estimates-30 million-impact.html
Hussain, M. A. (2013). Economic Impact of Food Safety Outbreaks on Food Businesses. Foods, 585-589.
Ivanek, R. &. (2004, February). Measures, The cost and benefit of Listeria Monocytogenes Food Safety. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 44(7), 513-23.
Kate, T. V. (2015). Ecomonic cost of a Listeria Monocytogene outbreak in Canada, 2008. Foodborne Pathogen Dis, 966-971.
MedicineNet. (2010, October 21). Listerosis. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from MedicineNet.com: https://www.medicinenet.com
Sabrina, F. (2016, December 21). What is Listeria. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/what-islisteria
UK News. (2018, June 10). What is listeria and why are frozen products being recalled? Retrieved October 13, 2018, from The Week: https://www.theweek.co.uk/94901/what-is-listeria-and-why-are-frozen-products-being-recalled
Vincent, H. (2018, March 1). What is listeria and how does it spread like rockmelons? Retrieved October 13, 2018, from The conversation: https://theconversation.com/what-is-listeria-and-how-does-it-spread-like-rockmelons-9265

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