Enhanced sanitation standard operating procedures have limited impact on listeria monocytogenes prevalence in retail delis

Andrea J. Etter, Susan R. Hammons, Sherry Roof, Courtenay Simmons, Tongyu Wu, Peter W. Cook, Alex Katubig, Matthew J. Stasiewicz, Emily Wright, Steven Warchocki, Jill Hollingworth, Hilary S. Thesmar, Salam A. Ibrahim, Martin Wiedmann, Haley F. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a recent longitudinal surveillance study in 30 U.S. retail delicatessens, 9.7% of environmental surfaces were positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and we found substantial evidence of persistence. In this study, we aimed to reduce the prevalence and persistence of L. monocytogenes in the retail deli environment by developing and implementing practical and feasible intervention strategies (i.e., sanitation standard operating procedures; SSOPs). These SSOPs were standardized across the 30 delis enrolled in this study. SSOP implementation was verified by systems inherent to each retailer. Each deli also was equipped with ATP monitoring systems to verify effective sanitation. We evaluated intervention strategy efficacy by testing 28 food and nonfood contact surfaces for L. monocytogenes for 6 months in all 30 retail delis. The efficacy of the intervention on the delis compared with preintervention prevalence level was not statistically significant; we found that L. monocytogenes could persist despite implementation of enhanced SSOPs. Systematic and accurate use of ATP monitoring systems varied widely among delis. The findings indicate that intervention strategies in the form of enhanced daily SSOPs were not sufficient to eliminate L. monocytogenes from highly prevalent and persistently contaminated delis and that more aggressive strategies (e.g., deep cleaning or capital investment in redesign or equipment) may be necessary to fully mitigate persistent contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1903-1912
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Inla premature stop codon
  • Listeria
  • Persistence
  • Retail delis
  • Sanitation standard operating procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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