Listeria monocytogenes in Irish Farmhouse cheese processing environments

Edward Fox, Karen Hunt, Martina O'Brien, Kieran Jordan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Sixteen cheesemaking facilities were sampled during the production season at monthly intervals over a two-year period. Thirteen facilities were found to have samples positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Samples were divided into 4 categories; cheese, raw milk, processing environment and external to the processing environment (samples from the farm such as silage, bedding, and pooled water). In order to attempt to identify the source, persistence and putative transfer routes of contamination with the L. monocytogenes isolates, they were differentiated using PFGE and serotyping. Of the 250 isolates, there were 52 different pulsotypes. No pulsotype was found at more than one facility. Two facilities had persistent pulsotypes that were isolated on sampling occasions at least 6. months apart. Of the samples tested, 6.3% of milk, 13.1% of processing environment and 12.3% of samples external to the processing environment, respectively, were positive for L. monocytogenes. Pulsotypes found in raw milk were also found in the processing environment, however, one of the pulsotypes from raw milk was found in cheese on only one occasion. One of the pulsotypes isolated from the environment external to the processing facility was found on the surface of cheese, however, a number of them were found in the processing environment. The results suggest that the farm environment external to the processing environment may in some cases be the source of processing environment contamination with L. monocytogenes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S39-S45
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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