The prevalence of major foodborne pathogens in ready-to-eat chicken meat samples sold in retail markets in Turkey and the molecular characterization of the recovered isolates
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The aims of the present study were to evaluate the prevalence of Arcobacter spp., Campylobacter spp., Listeria spp., and Salmonella spp. in heat-processed ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products manufactured by various companies using, bacterial culture methods and to perform virulence gene analysis, serotyping, genotyping, and antibacterial susceptibility tests on the isolated strains. For this purpose, 50 packages of chicken convenience products were used as the study material. Phenotypic tests and a molecular method (Polymerase Chain Reaction, PCR) were used to identify the isolated bacteria. All samples examined were negative for Arcobacter spp., Campylobacter spp., and Salmonella species. Listeria species were isolated from 12 (24%) of the examined samples. Among the Listeria species isolated, 9 were identified as L. monocytogenes, 2 were identified as L. innocua, and one was identified as L. welshimeri. All isolates were susceptible to the antibiotics tested. A detailed molecular analysis of the Listeria spp. revealed that the examined food products posed a significant public health hazard. Considering the presence of different genotypes of L. monocytogenes in RTE food production facilities, all the steps of food production must be reviewed in terms of conformity with sanitation and hygiene rules, and necessary measures must be set in place.