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French Authorities Conduct Surveillance on E. coli and Listeria in Food

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Recent reports shed light on official surveillance efforts in France regarding Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Listeria contamination in food.

In the first study, monitoring plans aimed to assess contamination rates of ground beef and raw milk cheeses by the most concerning STEC strains in France. Results from 2021 and 2022 indicated low contamination rates in ground beef, with only a few positive samples, mainly E. coli O157 and O26. While contamination rates in raw milk cheeses slightly increased in 2022, they remained relatively low, with E. coli O26 being the predominant strain.

Although the risk of exposure through these foods is limited, highly pathogenic STEC strains were isolated in some samples. Official advice includes avoiding raw milk cheeses for children under 5, and scientists stress the importance of implementing control measures and raising consumer awareness about proper cooking and consumption practices.

In another article, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) and the Directorate General for Food (DGAL) reported results of Listeria monocytogenes surveillance in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods from 2019 to 2021. Analysis revealed various serotypes and clonal complexes (CC), with CC121 and CC9 being the most common. Persistence of Listeria strains or reintroduction was observed across multiple years, highlighting the need for continued vigilance.

The study emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Listeria National Reference Center to effectively handle alerts and monitor listeriosis cases. 

Source: FSN 

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