The consortium tested food originating from more than 50 countries worldwide that has been carried along by travellers in their luggage and collected more than 500 isolates that are of interest for further characterization by molecular research. The involved partners collected 2621 animal food samples confiscated at airports (Frankfurt, Vienna, Bilbao), ports, black and food markets selling predominantly homegrown food. The pathogens investigated were Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp. and potentially hazardous E. coli. Some partners were looking for staphylococci and multi-drug resistant E. coli.
Conclusively, PROMISE provided the first data on microbiological hazard arriving into EU-28 via travellers at airports and by cross-boarder traffic. The percentage of passengers carrying food in their luggage was considerable. The amount of food carried with global travellers was surprising (2.7 – 4.2 kg; 2,4% of all passengers). Since most food was confiscated from passengers that are part of the national immigrant scene we concluded that the food is not only consumed in homes but might get vendored in ethnic cuisine. New genetic variants of zoonotic agents were described in Salmonella and VTEC, however no evidence was found that these isolates might be a matter of concern. Due to the limited amount of food usually transferred, we concluded that outbreaks encompassing multiple individuals are not expectable.
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