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The independent investigations some 70 years ago by E. G. D. Murray and colleagues in Cambridge (UK) and J,H. H. Pirie in Johannesburg (South Mrica) resulted in the first detailed descriptions of listeriosis (in both instances in small animals), together with the isolation and naming of Lis teria monocytogenes. These descriptions in 1926 and 1927 show the pre cision and care of these experimentalists, for not only did they show much skill and attention to detail but also great insight in surmising that the consumption of contaminated food was associated with the trans mission of listeriosis. In the words of Pirie in 1927, 'Infection can be pro duced by subcutaneous inoculation or by feeding and it is thought that it is by feeding that the disease is spread in nature. ' These observations were largely forgotten and listeriosis was regarded as a rather obscure disease of animals and occasionally humans. However, the 1980s saw dramatic changes and the 'elevation' of Listeria to a topic of concern not only amongst microbiologists (particularly food micro biologists) but also the general public.
1 Background.- Taxonomy of Listeria spp..- Listeriosis: the illness.- Sources of Listeria species.- 2 Outbreaks: causes and lessons to be learnt.- Coleslaw: Canada.- Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese: Switzerland.- Belgian pâté: UK.- Pork tongue in aspic: France.- Smoked mussels: New Zealand.- Chocolate milk: USA.- 3 Factors affecting the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes.- General.- Temperature.- pH, water activity and other factors.- 4 Industry focus: control of Listeria monocytogenes.- Raw-milk mould-ripened soft cheese.- Cold-smoked fish.- Cooked sliced meat and pâté.- Cooked ready meals.- Raw dried and fermented meats.- Processed fresh dairy desserts.- Generic control ofListeria.- 5 Industry action and reaction.- Legislation and Standards.- Guidelines.- Specifications.- Monitoring for Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes.- 6 Test methods.- Conventional methods.- Alternative methods.- 7 The future.- Glossary of terms.- Appendix: National centres for typing Listeria cultures.- References.