DAY 1: October 23rd 2019
















SESSION 1 : Foodborne zoononses in Europe: Monitoring of zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks in the European Union

Frank BOELAERT, Biological Hazards and Contaminants (BIOCONTAM) Unit, European Food Safety Authority (IT)
ABSTRACT : During 2017, campylobacteriosis was the commonest reported zoonosis in the European Union (EU) and its EU trend for confirmed human cases increasing since 2008 stabilised during 2013–2017. The decreasing EU trend for confirmed human salmonellosis cases since 2008 ended during 2013–2017, and the proportion of human Salmonella Enteritidis cases increased. Sixteen Member States (MS) met all Salmonella reduction targets for poultry, whereas 12 MS failed meeting at least one. The EU flock prevalence of target Salmonella serovars in breeding hens, laying hens, broilers and fattening turkeys decreased or remained stable compared to 2016, and slightly increased in breeding turkeys. The notification rate of human listeriosis further increased in 2017, despite Listeria seldom exceeding the EU food safety limit in ready-to-eat food. The decreasing EU trend for confirmed yersiniosis cases since 2008 stabilised during 2013–2017. The number of confirmed shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections in humans was stable. A total of 5,079 food-borne (including waterborne) outbreaks were reported. Salmonella was the commonest detected agent with S. Enteritidis causing one out of seven outbreaks, followed by other bacteria, bacterial toxins and viruses. The agent was unknown in 37.6% of all outbreaks. Salmonella in eggs and Salmonella in meat and meat products were the highest risk agent/food pairs.

BIO : Veterinary epidemiology with background Veterinary Inspection Service regarding animal health management (development and implementation of animal disease eradication and / or control programs). Doctor in Veterinary Medicine. Master of Science in Biostatistics. Doctor in Veterinary Science. Diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Public Health. Twenty-seven years overall experience within the field of veterinary public health, during which a continuing interest in animal health regulations was maintained. Resident during three years in Africa. Active involvement in studies, research, training, extension and surveys. Extensive computer, statistics and epidemiology training.

SESSION 2 : Biofilms and the environment: Biofilm control: From chemical to biological arsenal? 

Romain BRIANDET, Research Director, INRA Micalis (FR)
ABSTRACT : Microbial life abounds on surfaces in natural, medical and industrial environments. A solid substrate, water and some nutrients are sufficient to allow the construction of a microbial fortress, a so-called biofilm. A better understanding of the functioning of these microbial communities is a challenging and crucial issue, as it constitutes a prerequisite to the optimization of control strategies. Survival properties developed by these surface-associated ecosystems are beginning to be deciphered in the context of rudimentary axenic laboratory biofilms. Gelatinous organic matrices consisting of complex mixtures of self-produced biopolymers ensure the cohesion of these biological structures and contribute to their tolerance to chemical biocides. There is also growing evidence that surface-associated microbial pathogens can be controlled by guided biofilm ecology approaches in the fields (biocontrol), the processing units (bioprotection) and food matrices (biopreservation).
Keywords: biofilm architecture, multispecies interactions, biocontrol, bioprotection, bioconservation, real-time confocal imaging.

BIO : Romain Briandet is Director of Research at the Micalis Institute, a mixed research unit in Jouy-en-Josas (France) associating INRA, AgroParisTech and the Paris-Saclay University.
He is leading the research team B3D (Biofilm and Spatially Organised Communities) and the French Biofilms Network.

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break














SESSION 3 : Source of contamination in processed food industry (open surface):
  • The use of DNA sequencing technologies for investigation of contamination routes in the food industry; opportunities and bottlenecks
    Trond MORETRO, Research Scientist, NOFIMA AS (NO)
    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that certain types of Listeria monocytogenes can persist in the food industry for years, and although less studied this is likely also the case for potential food spoilage bacteria. In order to reveal contamination routes and thus be able to introduce targeted control measures, there is a need for typing methods with high resolution.
    The last years there have been a rapid development in the methodology for typing of microorganisms with sequence based methods. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is now increasingly being used by food safety- and public health authorities in outbreak investigations. WGS is a transformational technology, and has superior sensitivity and accuracy compared with traditional methods used in surveillance, source tracking and investigations of foodborne outbreaks.
    It is likely that the food industry in the not so far future will be met with expectations of implementing WGS technology from authorities and customers. In order to unlock the full potential of WGS for food safety and public health, data must be shared and compared. Even if WGS methodology is now available, there are still technical, legal and other regulatory barriers that must be solved to enable a large scale implementation of whole genome sequencing by the food industry.
    Examples of the use of sequencing technologies in outbreak investigations and in source tracking of Listeria in the food industry will be presented.

    BIO: Education: PhD Microbiology/Biotechnology. Research interests/experience: Worked >20 years at Nofima with applied research and industry projects focusing on hygiene, biofilm, Listeria, Salmonella
  • Occurrence, characterization and spoilage potential of biofilms in different food companies
    Koen DE REU - ILVO, Senior researcher and Group Leader Microbiological Food Safety (FR)
    ABSTRACT : Purpose: The aim of this study was to sample biofilms in different food companies and to characterize the microbial population and matrix components of these presumptive biofilms.
    Methods: Surfaces in 8 food companies were sampled after cleaning and disinfection. On the samples, different microbiological enumerations were performed and the dominant bacteria were identified. Also, the biofilm matrix components proteins, carbohydrates and uronic acids were determined. Finally the collected dominant bacteria from the biofilms in the food companies were tested under lab conditions on their biofilm forming capacities using a biofilm model based on microtiter plates.
    Results: The proportion of microbiological contaminated surfaces after cleaning and disinfection varied from 0 to 64% across the different food companies with values varying from 0.00 to 7.23 log CFU/100cm². For 0 to 33% of the sampled surfaces over the food companies presumptive biofilms were found, as on those surfaces micro-organisms were found in combination with biofilm matrix components. Identification of the collected isolates showed a wide diversity but the most common identified species were Pseudomonas spp. (26,3%), Stenotrophomonas spp. (8,3%) and Microbacterium spp. (8,1%). Regarding the biofilm-forming properties, micro-organisms with the strongest possibility to form biofilms are part of the Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and Stenotrophomonas family.
    Significance: Detection and characterization of biofilms in the concerned food companies gave useful insights in the potential to cause food spoilage and foodborne infections and offered a basis for the development of more efficient cleaning and disinfection procedures.

    BIO : Dr. ir. Koen De Reu is a food microbiologist and works as senior researcher at the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) in Melle, Belgium. His research group works on microbiological food quality and safety with special attention on Salmonella and Listeria contamination in the meat and egg processing chain, disinfection and antibiotic resistance, cleaning and disinfection and biofilms in the agro-food chain. He is author of more than 60 peer review papers and is promotor of different PhD students. Introduction: The importance and role of biofilms in persistent infections with spoilage organisms and pathogenic bacteria is still insufficiently known. Research about sampling, detection and characterization of biofilms in the food industry can help to provide new insights in this issue.
12:30-13:30 Lunch break






SESSION 4 : Biofilms in processed food industry (in circuits):

  • Competitive inter-species interactions underlie the increased antimicrobial tolerance in multispecies brewery biofilms 
    Abstract ongoing
  • Factor affecting the Biofilms in the food processing plants
    Pier Sandro COCCONCELLI, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (IT)
    ABSTRACT : The formation of microbial biofilms on surfaces of food processing plants is a complex process influenced by different factors: i) the characteristics of abiotic surfaces, ii) the physicochemical conditions of the niche (e.g. temperature, pressure, flow rate in pipelines), iii) the food matrix (e.g. pH, protein and sugar content) and iv) the microbial species making the biofilm. This complexity limits the possibility to predict and counteract the biofilm formation in processed food industry and, in particular, in closed circuits.
    During the last years we have focused on the study of biofilm formation by pathogenic and spoilage bacteria, such as Listeria, Bacillus cereus, Lactobacillus fructivorans and Streptococcus thermophilus. The interaction between surfaces, food matrix and bacteria were investigated in dynamic conditions using flow cells. Particularly, in Listeria the role of the luxS gene in biofilm formation and the survival to sanitation treatments was investigated on different abiotic surfaces. The ability of B. cereus to colonize the stainless steel and to complete the sporulation cycle and the subsequent germination process were studied in the presence of different food matrixes. When the ability of L. fructivorans, an acid resistant species responsible of spoilage in acid sauces such as mayonnaise, to colonize stainless steel pipelines was studied, food components (proteins and lipid) were shown to affect biofilm formation and survival. S. thermophilus, a thermophilic bacterium which can colonize the milk pasteurization plant, is able to make biofilm on stainless steel in a two steps process where first, milk proteins adhere to the abiotic surface and then the bacterial cell attach to caseins. Mutant selection and genomic studies demonstrated that the PrtS proteinase, a key enzyme for fast growth on milk, plays a key role in the biofilm formation.
15:00-15:30 Coffee break






































SESSION 5 : Pathogens in biofilms:

  • Biofilm risks in food processing
    Gun WIRTANEN, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (FI)
    ABSTRACT : Microbes prefer to stick to surfaces instead of swimming in solutions, which also applies for microbes in the food processing. There are both good and bad microbes in the surrounding. Therefore, it is to remember that any microbe in the wrong place is bad for the products produced. In case, the biofilm forming microbes are of pathogenic origin and the products in contact with the contaminated surface have gone through all heat-treatment procedures the contamination can lead to severe foodborne outbreaks. The number of human listeriosis cases in EU has increased from about 1900 confirmed cases in 2013 to about 2500 in both 2016 and 2017. This despite that Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods (RTEs) seldom exceeded the safety limit (≤ 100 CFU/g), when packaged food leaves the food factory. Common RTEs contaminated with L. monocytogenes are fish and meat products, various types of cheese, vegetable, fruit and salads. The number of infections caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) has annually been around 6000 cases in 2013-2017. Foods commonly contaminated with STEC are meat and milk products, vegetables, fruits and juices. Not all reported cases of pathogens in processed foods can be connected to biofilms, but in case the contamination in the process is recurring, the reason is mostly due to biofilms in unhygienic process solutions. Important tools in preventing biofilm formation in wet processes are good design, including hygienic design, choice of surface materials and building of process lines, and manufacturing practices, e.g. maintenance, cleaning and disinfection procedures in the process. The process lines and equipment must further be properly maintained. They should also be accessible, cleanable and drainable. This presentation will deal with biofilm formation – of both spoilage microbes and pathogens - on surfaces and how to avoid biofilms using above-mentioned measures.

    BIO : Dr. Gun Wirtanen has more than 28 years of experience in process hygiene. She graduated from Helsinki University of Technology in 1988 and received her doctoral degree in 1996. Gun is external lecturer (= docent) in process hygiene at the University of Helsinki and an authorized trainer in hygienic design and contamination control within the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG). Gun has worked within food microbiology and process hygiene at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 1988-2009, VTT Expert Services Ltd. 2010-13, DTU National Food Institute 2014-16 and University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute 2017-19 before joining Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences as Senior Expert in Food Safety in February 2019.
    Gun has been involved in projects dealing with biofilms, cleaning and disinfection at both lab and pilot scale as well as hygiene surveys in various food and packaging material factories. Gun has supervised several graduate works at BSc, MSc and PhD levels. Gun has coordinated Finnish, Nordic and EU projects e.g. the Nordic projects Sanitation of dairies 1994-96, Evaluation of cleaning agents and disinfectants for use in dairies 1997-2000 and DairyNet: Hygiene Control in dairies 2001-2004 as well as the EU Specific Support Action -project SAFOODNET (FP6-022808, 2006-2009) aiming at improved process hygiene in the new EU countries. Gun was board member of the EHEDG Executive Committee 1999 – 2013 and involved un the Scientific Committees of the EHEDG World Congress on Hygienic Engineering and Design in Herning (DK) 2016 and London (UK) 2018. Gun has been and is involved in arranging several R3Nordic symposia from 1995 onwards, e.g. Naantali (FI) in May 2018 and 2020.
  • Current Knowledge on Listeria monocytogenes Biofilms in Food-Related Environments: Incidence, Resistance to Biocides, Ecology and Biocontrol
    Pedro RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ, Postdoc Researcher-Dipartment of Food and Drug, University of Parma (IT)
    ABSTRACT: As in human societies, bacteria are able to associate in the environment of the food industry forming multispecies biofilms. These structures allow certain microorganisms, using different mechanisms, to collaborate among them consequently developing special features such as an increased tolerance to antimicrobials or even the capacity to remain invisible to detection systems. This is especially relevant when such organisms are foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella sp. or Listeria monocytogenes.
    To overcome this issue of concern, over the last years, food microbiologists’ research has permitted to develop various advances in the field of food safety by gaining further insight into the factors that affect the adhesion and maturation, and the generation of antimicrobial tolerance among multispecies biofilms.
    The presentation will be aimed to give a general perspective about the recent advances in the study and methodology for environmental pathogen control in the food industry.

    BIO: Pedro Rodríguez-López has a Biology BSc (Hons) Degree at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB; Barcelona, Spain) and a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences at Coventry University (Coventry, England) both completed in 2008. He also has a MSc in Applied Microbiology and a PhD in Microbiology at the UAB obtained in 2009 and 2017, respectively. His work as a researcher has been carried out in Prof. Marta L. Cabo’s laboratory in the Marine Research Institute (IIM-CSIC; Vigo, Spain) focused on the study of Listeria monocytogenes-carrying multispecies biofilms in the food industry and the design of enzyme-based control strategies. He has recently moved to Parma (Italy) to join Prof. Adriana Ianieri’s group at the University of Parma as a postdoc researcher.

  • Endemic population of Listeria monocytogens through formation of biofilm and its persistence in food-processing environment
    Erdogan Ceylan, Ph.D., CFS, Mérieux NutriSciences (USA)
    Abstract ongoing
18:00 Dinner party


DAY 2: October 24th 2019




SESSION 6 : Strategies to control and to detect biofilms

  • Biofilms in the Food Industry: Health Aspects and Control Methods
  • Detecting surface contamination and biofilms: Implications for the Italian Food Industry
    Chris GRIFFITH, Hygiene Consultant and Emeritus Professor at University of Wales (UK)

    ABSTRACT: Foodborne diseases, although theoretically easily preventable, remain a major global health and economic problem. Analysis of causative risk factors indicate that cross contamination, although likely to be underestimated, is a major concern. Factors influencing cross contamination, including the role of surface contamination are examined. Microbial survival and the concept of “transient and resident organisms” are explored and the importance and influence of biofilms discussed. Although a precursor to biofilm control there is no single perfect solution to surface testing or biofilm detection and individual and integrated approaches are compared. This is linked to “what information you may want, or need, to know “.Several case studies are analysed and the implications for the Italian food industry are discussed. BIO : Professor Griffith, after being brought up in a hotel, has been involved in food safety research and training for over 40 years. He has been awarded numerous international awards including the 2006 IAFP International Food Safety Leadership award and has been a visiting research fellow and invited speaker in Europe, Africa, South America, the USA and the Far East. He edited the British Food Journal from 2003 until 2018. He has authored / co-authored more than 430 books, book chapters, scientific papers and conference proceedings relating to food safety. He has worked extensively with the media and has acted as an expert witness covering cleaning and cross contamination in a number of court cases including the South Wales E coli inquiry in 2006 and more recently, commencing in 2018, as part of a legal team in the world’s largest Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in S Africa. He is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wales where he headed a food research and consultancy unit for 12 years. He now works as an independent consultant for different companies on various aspects of microbiological control. These include; pathogen reduction and cross contamination, assessing and managing cleaning efficacy and culture (in the food and healthcare industries) as well as other aspects of HACCP and food safety management . Professor Griffith has a BSc and PhD in Microbiology, a postgraduate diploma in education and is an ISO and a BRC trained auditor His publications include books on; “How to Clean a Management Guide , a chapter on surface sampling and the detection of contamination in the “Handbook of Hygiene Control in the Food Industry”, as well as 2 chapters on biofilms in “Biofilms the Good the Bad and the Ugly”. He has published over 30 peer reviewed papers on surface sampling, ATP bioluminescence and cleaning standards.

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-12:30 Case studies
12:30 Closing Lunch
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