Detection and enumeration of L. monocytogenes have been carried out in 92 Ready-to-Eat (RTE) seafood products, manufactured in different countries and marketed in Italy. Fifty-one strains were characterised by serotyping, multiplex PCRs for the presence of virulence genes and PFGE. Of the samples tested, 8.6% were contaminated at a level of less than 100 CFU/g in 98% of the samples. Isolates were serotyped as 1/2a, 1/2b, 1/2c and 4e, and presented all the virulence genes considered. PFGE revealed a high similarity among the isolates, suggesting the existence of a widespread population of L. monocytogenes clones in different geographical areas.
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