There is a continued need to develop improved rapid methods for detection of foodborne pathogens. The aim of this project was to evaluate the 3M Molecular Detection System (3M MDS), which uses isothermal DNA amplification, and the 3M Molecular Detection Assay Listeria using environmental samples obtained from retail delicatessens and meat, seafood, and dairy processing plants. Environmental sponge samples were tested for Listeria with the 3M MDS after 22 and 48 h of enrichment in 3M Modified Listeria Recovery Broth (3M mLRB); enrichments were also used for cultural detection of Listeria spp. Among 391 samples tested for Listeria, 74 were positive by both the 3M MDS and the cultural method, 310 were negative by both methods, 2 were positive by the 3M MDS and negative by the cultural method, and one sample was negative by the 3M MDS and positive by the cultural method. Four samples were removed from the sample set, prior to statistical analyses, due to potential cross-contamination during testing. Listeria isolates from positive samples represented L. monocytogenes, L. innocua, L. welshimeri, and L. seeligeri. Overall, the 3M MDS and culture-based detection after enrichment in 3M mLRB did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) with regard to the number of positive samples, when chi-square analyses were performed for (i) number of positive samples after 22 h, (ii) number of positive samples after 48 h, and (iii) number of positive samples after 22 and/or 48 h of enrichment in 3M mLRB. Among 288 sampling sites that were tested with duplicate sponges, 67 each tested positive with the 3M MDS and the traditional U.S. Food and Drug Administration Bacteriological Analytical Manual method, further supporting that the 3M MDS performs equivalently to traditional methods when used with environmental sponge samples.

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