A total of 564 Listeria monocytogenes isolates were characterized by automated ribotyping. The samples were taken from equipment, personnel and the environment after cleaning procedures and during food processing, as well as from raw materials and products from six meat, two poultry and five seafood processing plants located in the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Altogether, 25 different ribotypes (RTs) were generated. Two RTs occurred in the samples from all three food sectors—meat, poultry and seafood. Four RTs occurred in meat and poultry plant samples and other four RTs occurred in meat and seafood plant samples. Five RTs occurred only in meat plant samples, five only in poultry plant samples and five only in seafood plant samples. Eight of the thirteen plants had their own in-house L. monocytogenes ribotype. There was geographical differences between the RTs, but no correlation between RTs and food sectors was detected. The discrimination power of automated ribotyping was satisfactory to trace the contamination sources in the food processing plants clearly indicating the sites at which improved cleaning procedures were necessary. In addition, it was possible to screen a large number of isolates with two instruments located at different institutes and to make a reliable combination of the results.
- Listeria monocytogenes