Pasquali, Frédérique2; De Cesare, Alessandra2; Valero, Antonio3; Olsen, John Elmerdahl4; Manfreda, Gerardo2
1 Veterinary Clinical Microbiology, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 University of Bologna3 University of Cordoba4 Veterinary Clinical Microbiology, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Eggs and egg products have been described as the most critical food vehicles of salmonellosis. The prevalence and level of contamination of Salmonella on table eggs are low, which severely affects the sensitivity of sampling plans applied voluntarily in some European countries, where one to five pools of 10 eggs are tested by the culture based reference method ISO 6579:2004. In the current study we have compared the testing-sensitivity of the reference culture method ISO 6579:2004 and an alternative real-time PCR method on Salmonella contaminated egg-pool of different sizes (4-9 uninfected eggs mixed with one contaminated egg) and contamination levels (10°-10(1), 10(1)-10(2), 10(2)-10(3)CFU/eggshell). Two hundred and seventy samples corresponding to 15 replicates per pool size and inoculum level were tested. At the lowest contamination level real-time PCR detected Salmonella in 40% of contaminated pools vs 12% using ISO 6579. The results were used to estimate the lowest number of sample units needed to be tested in order to have a 95% certainty not falsely to accept a contaminated lot by Monte Carlo simulation. According to this simulation, at least 16 pools of 10 eggs each are needed to be tested by ISO 6579 in order to obtain this confidence level, while the minimum number of pools to be tested was reduced to 8 pools of 9 eggs each, when real-time PCR was applied as analytical method. This result underlines the importance of including analytical methods with higher sensitivity in order to improve the efficiency of sampling and reduce the number of samples to be tested.
International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2014, Vol 184, p. 31-34