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Toward Better Understanding and Effective Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ontario's Farm-to-Fork Food Chain by Indexing the Pathogen (Phase II)


Main Goal: To enable the implementation of proactive and cost-effective monitoring/prevention approaches to prevent/minimize food-borne listeriosis.<P>

1. To index new L. monocytogenes strains that are isolated from Ontario's food and health chain in routine monitoring and surveillance programs and clinical cases in next two years using MLVA analysis.
<P>2. To have a comprehensive comparison in molecular profiles between PFGE and MLVA,
<P>3. To refine the current loci based on known epidemiologically related (and unrelated) strains and to conduct inter-lab validations.
<P>4. To better understand epidemiology of L. monocytogenes by conducting comparative genomic fingerprinting including whole genome sequencing on selected strains, particularly predominant and persistent ones.
<P>5. To provide an expanded database and validated MLVA protocol which can be implemented in routine monitoring and surveillance programs for enhanced risk assessment, risk management and control strategies.

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Expected Benefits:<br/>

Government agencies and industries will have an enhanced MLVA database and a verified MLVA protocol to use in their monitoring/surveillance programs. Timely molecular typing information will help them develop appropriate regulatory responses to incidents of food contamination. Greater knowledge about Ontario's predominant and persistent strains will help food safety professionals develop more effective strategies to prevent and minimize listeriosis. Differentiation of persistent and sporadic contamination events will help them select the best approach for mitigating the impact of the contamination.
The overall approach will provide a new, proactive and effective avenue to enhance Ontario's food safety and competitiveness.

Chen, Shu
University of Guelph
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