Contamination of ready-to-eat raw vegetables with Clostridium difficile in France

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The presence of Clostridium difficile in food like shellfish, vegetables and meat has been reported in several publications during the past few years. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of ready-to-eat raw vegetables contaminated with C. difficile in France. One hundred and four ready-to-eat salads and vegetables were studied. Toxigenic C. difficile strains were isolated in three samples (2.9 %): two ready-to-eat salads (one heart of lettuce and one lamb's lettuce salad) and one portion of pea sprouts. The strains belonged to three different PCR ribotypes: 001, 014/020/077 and 015. The detection thresholds for vegetative cells and spores cells varied between 1 and 3 c.f.u. in 20 g salad and between 6 and 15 c.f.u. in 20 g salad, respectively, for the method employed.

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