Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37126899
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2023.110225
Int J Food Microbiol 2023 Aug; 398(): 110225
Between 2018 and 2019, 309 environmental and food samples were collected from two industrial cheese-making plants located in Sardinia, in order to investigate Y. enterocolitica presence and to characterize the isolates. Y. enterocolitica isolates were further compared with isolates detected during a previous investigation from sheep and goat raw milk samples. Y. enterocolitica was detected in 7.4 % of the samples and the prevalence was higher, even if not significantly (P > 0.05) higher in non-food contact surface samples (10.2 %) than in food contact surface samples (3.8 %). The highest prevalence was detected in floor samples (13.5 %), followed by drain samples (7.2 %), which might serve as main harborage sites for further contamination. Y. enterocolitica was also detected in food contact surfaces, namely shelves of the Ricotta cooling room and packaging room, one cheese cutting machine surface and one raw milk filter sample. The biotype 1A isolates identified in this study were classified into six different serotypes. Additionally, a bioserotype 2/O:5,27 isolate was identified in one goat milk sample. All 1A isolates possessed the virulence genes invA and ystB while the 2/O:5,27 isolate showed the presence of ail, ystA, invA and yadA genes, thus confirming a pathogenic potential. The isolates showed intrinsic resistance to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ticarcillin and cefoxitin due to the presence of the blaA gene. Whole genome sequencing allowed to identify seven different sequence types among the 1A isolates, thus showing a high genetic diversity. The same Y. enterocolitica sequence type (ST3) was detected from three different areas of the same cheese-making plant, indicating a possible transfer of the microorganism along the processing lines. Y. enterocolitica contamination in cheese-making plants can pose a risk to human health. Preventive measures include the hygienic design of the plant layout and equipment, in association with proper cleaning and disinfection programmes.