Prevalence of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica in minced meat, pig tongues and hearts at the retail level in the Czech Republic detected by real time PCR
Keywords:Yersinia enterocolitica, ail gene, ompF gene, real time PCR, pork products, retail, zoonosis
Yersiniosis is the third most frequently reported zoonosis in the European Union and Yersinia enterocolitica is the most common species causing human infections. Pigs are assumed to be the main reservoir of human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica with the presence of bacteria mainly in the tonsils and intestinal content. Undercooked pork and pork products have been suggested as the primary source of human yersiniosis. Nevertheless, data on the prevalence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in foodstuffs including pork products are very limited. A molecular based method (real time PCR) targeting the ompF gene (detection of Yersinia genus) and the ail gene (a chromosomally located virulence marker of Y. enterocolitica) was used to determine the prevalence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in minced meat and edible pork offal at the retail level in the Czech Republic. A total of 50 pig tongues, 50 pig hearts, and 93 samples of minced meat containing pork were purchased at nine retail outlets in Brno. High detection rates of Yersinia spp. were found in all types of samples (pig tongues, 80.0%; pig hearts, 40.0%; and minced meat, 55.9%). The highest prevalence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica was found in pig tongues (40.0%), followed by pig hearts (18.0%) and minced meat samples (17.2%). Although from the point of view of food safety the merely molecular detection of DNA of the pathogenic bacteria could represent a false positive result, our results indicate the presence of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in raw pork products at the retail level in the Czech Republic, which may pose a risk of consumer infection. Sufficient heat treatment and prevention of cross-contamination during preparation of food in the kitchen should be recommended.
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