Microorganisms In Finfish

In healthy fish, muscle tissue or flesh is generally considered sterile. However, the fish surface and certain organs contain various levels of microorganisms: skin, 102-107/cm2; intestinal fluid, 103-108/mL; and gill tissue, 103-106/mL (2,3). Cold marine water fish mainly carry psy-chrophilic gram-negative bacteria including Moraxella, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium, and Vibrio (4,5). Both Moraxella and Acinetobacter were designated as Achromobacter in the past (6-8). The levels of these bacteria vary somewhat depending on season and food ingested (2,5,9). Fish intestines normally contain Vibrio, Moraxella, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Aeromonas, in addition to a small number of anaerobic bacteria, including Clostridium and Bacillus. Warm-water fish carry large numbers of gram-positive, mesophilic bacteria such as Corynebacterium, Bacillus, Micrococcus, and sometimes Enterobacteriaceae or even Salmonella (4,5).

The flora of fish depends on intrinsic factors (season, fish ground, and species) and extrinsic ones (fishing method, fish handling on board, storage condition, sampling technique, medium, and incubation temperature). Trawled fish usually carry bacterial loads 10-100 times greater than those of lined fish, because fish are dragged for a long time along the sea bottom (4). The physiological condition of fish prior to death has an effect on postharvest quality. When tuna, the fastest swimming fish, are captured in a highly stressful state, the buildup of lactic acid combined with elevated muscle temperature degrade the muscle quality, although the tuna is still acceptable for canning. Salmon harvested by gill netting die after an exhausting struggle, resulting in a shorter period of rigor mortis and deterioration during icing (10). The fish should be handled as soon as possible after being landed on the vessel. Careful handling of fish with gaff hook or forks and avoiding severe physical damage are crucial. Any breaks

64. E. J. Rhodehamel, "Overview of Biological, Chemical, and Physical Hazards," in M. D. Pierson and D. A. Corlett, Jr., eds., HACCP—Principles and Applications, AVI Book/Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1992, pp. 8-28.

65. O. P. Snyder, Jr., "HACCP—An Industry Food Safety Self-Control Program, Part III," Dairy, Food and Environmental Sanitation 12, 164-167 (1992).

66. F. K. Käferstein, Y. Motarhemi, and D. W. Bettcher, "Food-borne Disease Control: A Transnational Challenge," Emerging Infectious Diseases 3, 503-510 (1997).

67. National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Principles and Application Guidelines," J. Food Prot. 61,762-775 (1998).

68. H. M. Johnson et al., "Antigenic Properties of Some Insects Involved in Food Contamination," J. Assoc. Off. Agric. Chem. 56, 63-65 (1973).

69. R. A. Wirtz, "Food Pests as Disease Agents," in J. R. Gorham, ed., Ecology and Management of Food-Industry Pests, Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, Va., 1991, pp. 469—475.

70. T. Matsumoto et al., "Systemic Anaphylaxis after Eating Storage-mite-contaminated Food," Int. Arch. Allergy Immunol. 109, 197-200 (1996).

71. A. M. Erben et al., "Anaphylaxis after Ingestion of Beignets Contaminated with Dermatophagoides farinae," J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 92, 846-849 (1993).

72. G. T. Okumura, "A Report of Canthariasis and Allergy Caused by Trogoderma," Calif. Vector Views 14, 19-22 (1967).

73. E. M. Foster, "Historical Overview of Key Issues in Food Safety," Emerging Infectious Diseases 3, 481-482 (1997).

74. J. G. Morris, Jr., and M. Potter, "Emergence of New Pathogens as a Function of Changes in Host Susceptibility," Emerging Infectious Diseases 3, 435-441 (1997).

75. J. Lederberg, "Infectious Disease as an Evolutionary Paradigm," Emerging Infectious Diseases 3, 417-423 (1997).

76. R. V. Tauxe, "Emerging Foodborne Diseases: An Evolving Public Health Challenge," Emerging Infectious Diseases 3, 425-434 (1997).

77. A. R. Olsen, "Introduction," in A. R. Olsen, T. H. Sidebottom, and S. A. Knight, eds., Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology. A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., 1996, pp. 1-10.

78. R. A. Baldwin, "Quality Assurance for Regulatory Science," in A. R. Olsen, T. H. Sidebottom, and S. A. Knight, eds., Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology. A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., 1996, pp. 11-20.

79. J. R. Gorham, "Reflections on Food-borne Filth in Relation to Human Disease," in A. R. Olsen, T. H. Sidebottom, and S. A. Knight, eds., Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology. A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., 1996, pp. 269-275.

80. J. R. Gorham, "Filth and Extraneous Matter in Food," in Y. H. Hui, ed., Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology, 1st ed., Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1991, pp. 847-868.

J. Richard Gorham Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, Maryland

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