The influence of pig carcass processing of the efficacy of sponge swab sampling

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2007-01-01
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Richards, P.
Dodd, Christine
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International Conference on the Epidemiology and Control of Biological, Chemical and Physical Hazards in Pigs and Pork
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The SafePork conference series began in 1996 to bring together international researchers, industry, and government agencies to discuss current Salmonella research and identify research needs pertaining to both pig and pork production. In subsequent years topics of research presented at these conferences expanded to include other chemical and biological hazards to pig and pork production.

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The efficacy of different methods of sampling have been widely compared in the literature. Whilst it is recognised that swabbing and sponging leave a residual bacterial population, the levels that are left are difficult to evaluate and may be Influenced by other factors such as changes to the skin due to processing. In this Food Standards Agency funded study we have used bacterial bioluminescence as a visual marker of the presence of bacteria to evaluate the efficacy of different sampling methods on the removal of bacteria. Pig skin was spiked with a strain of E. coli or Salmonella Typhimurium made bioluminescent by the introduction of the luxCDABE genes from Photorhabdus luminescens on a plasmid construct. Samples were visualized under a light sensitive camera before and after sponging or swabbing and the levels of the bacteria removed evaluated. Methods compared were agitated sponging, using cellulose acetate sponges, against traditional sponging and a double-swabbing techmque, using cotton tipped bud swabs. Results indicate that damage to skin can lead to 'hot spots' of contamination, here residual bacteria are not easily removed by further physical abrasion.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007