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News article9 September 20191 min read

Release of Listeria monocytogenes CRM supporting the fight against listeriosis

© EC, 2019

The JRC just released ERM®-AD624, a Certified Reference Material (CRM) to be used as quality assurance for the analysis of Listeria monocytogenes in food control laboratories.

It will support EU Member States when monitoring listeriosis and ensure the collection of comparable data on the disease.

Listeria monocytogenes causes the disease listeriosis in humans and animals. The disease is often severe with high hospitalisation and mortality rates. In the EU, 2480 human cases were reported in 2017, with a mortality rate of 14 %.

People who are most susceptible to Listeria infections are the elderly, pregnant woman, new-borns and people with a weak immune system. Consumption of ready-to-eat foods such as smoked fish, deli meats and soft cheeses has been found to be the main route of transmission.

EU Member States are obliged to collect relevant and comparable data on listeriosis and the occurrence of Listeria and to ensure a proper epidemiological investigation in case of food-borne outbreaks (EU directive 2003/99/EC, on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents).

Evaluating the subtype of Listeria monocytogenes is essential in epidemiological investigations or source tracking contamination from food processing plants. One of the methods used by the laboratories for subtyping of Listeria monocytogenes is Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE).

To support the laboratories performing this method, the JRC has developed a CRM – ERM®-AD624 - consisting of the DNA of Listeria monocytogenes strain H2446 stabilised in agarose plugs suitable for PFGE. The material was certified using an interlaboratory comparison study, in which all participants used PFGE.

Fragment sizes of Listeria DNA digested with a restriction enzyme were separated by PFGE and the resultant band profiles compared to that of a Salmonella Braenderup reference strain.

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Certified Reference Materials catalogue of the JRC


Publication date
9 September 2019