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Bacterial disinfectant resistance—a challenge for the food industry

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation ; Volume 51. p. 283–290. 2003

Langsrud, Solveig; Sidhu, Maan Singh; Heir, Even; Holck, Askild Lorentz

The focus on hygiene in the food industry has resulted in an increasing use of chemical disinfection and it has been speculated that this will impose a selective pressure and contribute to the emergence of disinfectant-resistant microorganisms. The frequency of strains with a low-level resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) is relatively high for Listeria monocytogenes (10%), Staphylococcus spp. (13%) and Pseudomonas spp. (30%) and lower for lactic acid bacteria (1.5%) and coliforms (1%) isolated from food and food processing industry. In general, bacteria isolated after disinfection are more resistant and represent a potential food safety or food spoilage problem. Adaptation to disinfectants may be accompanied by cross-resistance to related disinfectants. We have recently found a genetic linkage between resistance to QAC and antibiotics in food associated staphylococci, and there is a growing concern about cross-resistance between antibiotics and disinfectants. Disinfectant resistance can in most cases be prevented by effective cleaning and disinfection procedures. More effort should be made to avoid build-up of resistance in food production environments.

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