Researchers have looked at the presence of certain foodborne pathogens in seafood collected in Turkey.

The study analyzed amounts of coliform bacteria, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio cholerae, and Vibrio vulnificus in about 700 raw sea fish, raw mussels, raw shrimp, and raw squid samples.

Of the total seafood products analyzed, 50% were found to be infected with coliform bacteria. About 131 out of 700 were contaminated with E. coli, 60 out of 700 affected with Listeria monocytogenes, and 24 out of 700 infected with Vibrio vulnificus. Vibrio cholerae was not found in any of the samples.

Microbiological quality of seafood can differ based on the environmental conditions, distance to residential areas and pollution, natural bacterial flora in water, food consumed by fish, fishing methods, water quality, water temperature, salinity, and cooling conditions.

Since seafood and fish are prone to secondary contamination, the purchasing stage, treatments during the preparation procedure and consumers’ concurrence with hygiene rules are crucial for food safety.

All samples were collected in from fish wholesale markets, fish markets, fish hawkers, and bazaars of Istanbul in Turkey. This comprised of 400 raw fish samples like gilt-head sea bream, bluefish, horse mackerel, sea bass, and, 100 from the other types, as per the study issued in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

The number of samples tested positive for coliform bacteria for raw fish, raw mussels, raw shrimp, and raw squid were 210, 47, 41, and 39 respectively.
E. coli was identified in 67 of raw fish, 21of raw mussels, 24 of raw shrimp and 19 of raw squid samples.

Listeria monocytogenes was found in 29 raw fish, 16 raw mussels, 11 raw shrimp, and 4 raw squid samples.

Researches regarding the detection of Listeria monocytogenes in seafood are restricted. As per the researchers’ results, it is an acute risk in such products.

Also, the lack of knowledge about the epidemiology in seafood is attributed to the rising risks for consumer health.

The number of positive samples for Vibrio vulnificus for raw fish, raw mussels, raw shrimp, and raw squid were found to be 11, 9, 4, and 0, respectively.

Researchers informed- “When the morbificity of Vibrio vulnificus and possible infection results are taken under consideration, raw mussels sold unregulated by fish hawkers are very critical risk factors for public health. Another important hazard related to Vibrio vulnificus is that it does not lead to any alterations in the appearance, odor, and taste of seafood including fish, mussels, and oysters from which the causative agent is isolated.”
Further analyses are required to disclose the comprehensive behaviors of seafood pathogens, manner of infection, epidemiology, and genetic makeups of contaminants to maximize consumer health.

To spread awareness among the public, training of seafood workers at every stage of production is considered to be crucial to alleviate the instances of pathogens worsening the public health. Efficacy of government agencies in the seafood supply chain is also vital, says the report.

Researchers also stated that the absolute quality management and good hygiene practices should be adopted at all points that sell ready-to-eat food and should be regulated at the administrator level to reduce the chances of microbial and parasitic infections thus safeguarding consumer health.


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