Detecting pathogens in seafood
The food of choice at end-of year festivities and wedding breakfasts, seafood is an integral part of festive occasions. But in order to ensure that the party does not end badly, the quality and freshness of this tempting food must be guaranteed. Indeed, seafood can be a carrier of different pathogenic microorganisms. In Europe, the marketing of seafood is fortunately well controlled in order to minimize health risks to consumers. Georges Daube and his team at the Food Microbiology Laboratory of the University of Liege have developed a method of molecular biology which makes it possible to amplify specific genes of microorganisms in order not only to detect pathogens, but also to estimate their quantity.
Developing an efficient method for the AFSCA
Apart from the “filtering” activity of bivalve molluscs, the way we eat them, either raw or lightly cooked, represents an extra health risk. While oysters do not generally make it to the saucepan, the cooking of mussels and shellfish stops as soon as the bivalves open. "They are therefore not subjected to temperatures that are high enough to remove the microorganisms present in the water ", continues Georges Daube. " And as far as crustaceans are concerned, there are often cases or recontamination after cooking, when they are de-shelled for example. The bacteria and viruses present on the hands or on the raw shrimps handled just before can also make their way to our plates as well".
(1) B. Taminiau, N. Korsak, C. Lemaire, V. Delcenserie, G. Daube. Validation of real-time PCR for detection of six major pathogens in seafood products. Food Control. Volume 44, October 2014, Pages 130–137