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In the summer of 2014, a multistate outbreak of listeriosis associated with contaminated stone fruit (peach and nectarine) was reported. A serotype 4b variant Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) strain of singleton Sequence Type (ST) 382 was isolated from clinical samples and stone fruit associated with the outbreak. A serotype 1/2b Lm strain of ST5, Clonal Complex 5 was isolated only from outbreak-associated stone fruit, not from clinical samples. Here we investigated the fate of the serotype 4b and 1/2b strains, at two inoculation levels (high level at 3.7 logCFU/fruit and low level at 2.7 logCFU/fruit), on the surfaces of white peach, yellow peach and yellow nectarine stored at 4 °C for 26 days. After rinsing the fruits, we determined the Lm levels in the rinsates and on the peels. We enumerated Lm using a direct plating method and compared two chromogenic agars. The Lm populations rapidly declined in the first 3 days and then declined more slowly until Day 19/21. The maximum decline was 1.6 logCFU/fruit on yellow peach inoculated with serotype 4b at high level. For fruits inoculated with high-level Lm, the lowest level of Lm (1.7 logCFU/fruit) was observed on for white peach inoculated with serotype 1/2b, and the highest level of Lm (2.6 logCFU/fruit) on Day 19/21 was observed on yellow peach inoculated with the serotype 1/2b strain. For fruits inoculated with low-level Lm, the lowest level of Lm (1.3 logCFU/fruit) was observed on yellow nectarine inoculated with either the serotype 4b or 1/2b strain, and the highest level of Lm (1.7 logCFU/fruit) on Day 19/21 was observed on yellow peach inoculated with ST382. The D-values ranged from 15 days to 28 days. Lm remained viable until the end of storage (Day 26), but the levels were not sig- nificantly different from those on Day 19/21. The types of stone fruit and Lm strain did not significantly affect the survival of Lm. These results demonstrate that contaminated stone fruit can carry a potential risk for causing listeriosis in susceptible populations. Comparison of direct plating results using two chromogenic agars showed that RAPID' L. mono and Agar Listeria Ottavani & Agosti performed equivalently for enumerating Lm on stone fruit. The fruit rinsing recovered 80% to 84% of Lm from fruit surfaces.
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