RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S.
Staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcal food-borne disease: an ongoing challenge in public health.
Staphylococcal food-borne disease (SFD) is one of the most common food-borne diseases worldwide resulting from the contamination of food by preformed S. aureus enterotoxins. It is one of the most common causes of reported food-borne diseases in the United States. Although several Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) have been identified, SEA, a highly heat-stable SE, is the most common cause of SFD worldwide. Outbreak investigations have found that improper food handling practices in the retail industry account for the majority of SFD outbreaks. However, several studies have documented prevalence of S. aureus in many food products including raw retail meat indicating that consumers are at potential risk of S. aureus colonization and subsequent infection. Presence of pathogens in food products imposes potential hazard for consumers and causes grave economic loss and loss in human productivity via food-borne disease. Symptoms of SFD include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea. Preventive measures include safe food handling and processing practice, maintaining cold chain, adequate cleaning and disinfection of equipment, prevention of cross-contamination in home and kitchen, and prevention of contamination from farm to fork. This paper provides a brief overview of SFD, contributing factors, risk that it imposes to the consumers, current research gaps, and preventive measures.
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