Nontyphoid Salmonella strains are some of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses worldwide; however, there is very limited information on the presence and characteristics of Salmonella in the food production chain in developing countries. In this study, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used for molecular subtyping and for monitoring the ecology and transmission of Salmonella isolates in a slaughter facility in Mexico in an attempt to determine specific steps that need to be improved to reduce Salmonella contamination in beef carcasses. A total of 94 isolates from a Salmonella stock culture collection originally obtained from a single vertically integrated feedlot and beef abattoir in Mexico were analyzed. A total of 26 unique PFGE patterns were identified, 38.5% of them corresponding to a single serotype. High concordance (88.4%) was found between serotype and PFGE banding subtype. Salmonella Kentucky and Salmonella Give were the most clonal subtypes in this study, and Salmonella Muenster was the most diverse, with 11 banding patterns identified. A total of 73.7, 70.6, and 85.7% of the PFGE subtypes identified from preevisceration, precooler, and chilled carcasses, respectively, were identified only at those specific points and not at any previous or subsequent steps of the slaughter process, suggesting that each step is in itself a source of Salmonella contamination. Salmonella Mbandaka was more likely to be recovered from feces than from any of the steps of the slaughter process. The genetic diversity and distribution of PFGE subtypes in the processing facility highlight the need to implement antimicrobial interventions and improve sanitation procedures at various points to avoid further Salmonella dissemination into the meat supply.
- Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
- Slaughter facility