Environmental Persistence of Listeria Monocytogenes and its Implications in Dairy Processing Plants

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Listeriosis, an invasive illness with a fatality rate between 20% and 30%, is caused by the ubiquitous bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Human listeriosis has long been associated with foods. This is because the ubiquitous nature of the bacteria renders it a common food contaminant, posing a significant risk to the food processing sector. Although several sophisticated stress coping mechanisms have been identified as significant contributing factors toward the pathogen's persistence, a complete understanding of the mechanisms underlying persistence across various strains remains limited. Moreover, aside from genetic aspects that promote the ability to cope with stress, various environmental factors that exist in food manufacturing plants could also contribute to the persistence of the pathogen. The objective of this review is to provide insight into the challenges faced by the dairy industry because of the pathogens’ environmental persistence. Additionally, it also aims to emphasize the diverse adaptation and response mechanisms utilized by L. monocytogenes in food manufacturing plants to evade environmental stressors. The persistence of L. monocytogenes in the food processing environment poses a serious threat to food safety and public health. The emergence of areas with high levels of L. monocytogenes contamination could facilitate Listeria transmission through aerosols, potentially leading to the recontamination of food, particularly from floors and drains, when sanitation is implemented alongside product manufacturing. Hence, to produce safe dairy products and reduce the frequency of outbreaks of listeriosis, it is crucial to understand the factors that contribute to the persistence of this pathogen and to implement efficient control strategies.

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Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety





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