Enterobacter sakazakii is considered to be an opportunistic pathogen and has been implicated in foodborne diseases causing meningitis or enteritis, especially in neonates and infants. The U.S FoodNet 2002 survey rate of invasive infections with this organism in infants under 1 year of age was 1 per 100,000 infants. Severity of the disease is a matter of concern. In a recent study on the occurrence of E. sakazakii in production environments from food (milk powder, chocolate, cereal, potato, and pasta) factories and households, this organism was isolated with varying frequency from nearly all environments examined, strongly indicating that it is widespread. Stationary phase E. sakazakii cells are remarkably resistant to osmotic and drying stresses compared with other species of the Enterobacteriacae. In this article, we review the literature on this organism with special respect to the information relevant for food safety.

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