Biofilm formation on food contact surfaces is a potential hazard leading to cross-contamination during food processing. We investigated Listeria innocua biofilm formation on various food contact surfaces and compared the washing effect of slightly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW) at 30, 50, 70, and 120 ppm with that of 200 ppm of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) on biofilm cells. The risk of L. innocua biofilm transfer and growth on food at retail markets was also investigated. The viability of biofilms that formed on food contact surfaces and then transferred cells to duck meat was confirmed by fluorescence microscopy. L. innocua biofilm formation was greatest on rubber, followed by polypropylene, glass, and stainless steel. Regardless of sanitizer type, washing removed biofilms from polypropylene and stainless steel better than from rubber and glass. Among the various SAEW concentrations, washing with 70 ppm of SAEW for 5 min significantly reduced L. innocua biofilms on food contact surfaces during food processing. Efficiency of transfer of L. innocua biofilm cells was the highest on polypropylene and lowest on stainless steel. The transferred biofilm cells grew to the maximum population density, and the lag time of transferred biofilm cells was longer than that of planktonic cells. The biofilm cells that transferred to duck meat coexisted with live, injured, and dead cells, which indicates that effective washing is essential to remove biofilm on food contact surfaces during food processing to reduce the risk of foodborne disease outbreaks.

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