Purpose: To establish a baseline of Salmonella prevalence in Mexico and Honduras by sampling produce and beef from retail markets and abattoirs.
Methods: Retail produce samples (cantaloupes, cilantro, cucumbers, leafy greens, peppers, and tomatoes) were purchased in Mexico (n = 576) and Honduras (n = 479), retail whole muscle beef (n = 555) samples were purchased in Honduras and both hide and beef carcass (n = 141) samples were collected from 2 Honduran abattoirs. Beef samples were obtained using a sponge hydrated with buffered peptone water (BPW) and a BPW rinsate of produce samples was collected and transported back to the U.S. Salmonella was detected using standard protocols for the Dupont Qualicon BAX®system and positive samples were isolated using traditional cultural methods and confirmed via agglutination and serotyping.
Results: Overall, the prevalence of Salmonella-positive samples in Honduras (n=555) retail beef was 1.0% (95% CI = 0.8, 1.3), whereas 7.8% (n = 141) of beef carcass swabs were positive in both Honduran beef plants. The overall Salmonella prevalence for produce samples was 2.1% (95% CI = 1.2, 3.6) and 1.6% (95% CI = 1.2, 3.8) for Honduras (n = 573) and Mexico (n = 514), respectively. The most common serotypes identified in Honduras were Salmonella Typhimurium followed by Derby, while Meleagridis, Typhimurium, Kentucky, and Newport were commonly isolated from Mexico.
Significance: Although the prevalence of Salmonella was low in this study, Salmonella still continues to be a challenge for the food industry worldwide. Developing a Salmonella baseline for Latin America provides understanding of the worldwide burden, thus providing insight into foodborne Salmonella control.