Thursday, 28 June 2018
Samples were tested for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC),1 Salmonella and Escherichia coli.
This survey investigated the microbiological safety of ready-to-eat, pre-packaged nuts, seeds and dried fruit available for retail sale in Ireland. In total, 982 food samples were taken. Samples were tested for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella and Escherichia coli.
Salmonella was detected in 0.2% (2/890) of samples; these were S. Mikawasima in ground almonds from the United States and S. Elomrane in nigella seeds from India imported to Ireland via a wholesaler in the United Kingdom. L. monocytogenes was below the limit of enumeration (<10 cfu/g) for all samples tested (n=886). The maximum legal limit for L. monocytogenes is 100 cfu/g.
Of the 821 samples tested for the presence of STEC using the CEN ISO/TS 13136 method (which targets the major STEC virulence genes, stx and eae), all were negative for STEC. In addition, out of 889 samples tested for E. coli, 887 were below the limit of enumeration (<10 cfu/g), one was at the 10 cfu/g limit and one was at 30 cfu/g, considered satisfactory and borderline, respectively. The sample containing borderline levels of E. coli was walnuts.
This survey was carried out from 31 October 2015 to 1 December 2015 inclusive, as increased seasonal consumption of these products takes place during these months.