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Raw, ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood products, such as ceviche, poke, and sushi, have experienced growing demand globally; however, these products have the potential to be contaminated with foodborne pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Escherichiacoli/coliforms, Salmonella, and Listeria in ceviche, poke, and sushi dishes sold at the retail level in Orange County, CA, USA. Additional organisms detected during testing were also considered in the results. A total of 105 raw, RTE samples of ceviche, poke, and sushi were collected from restaurants and grocery stores in Orange County, CA. Samples were tested for Salmonella and Listeria utilizing methods from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM). E. coli and total coliforms were enumerated utilizing 3 M Petrifilm plates. Overall, two samples (1.9%) were positive for generic E. coli, with a range of 5–35 CFU/g. Coliforms were detected in 85 samples (81%), with a range of 5–1710 CFU/g. The average coliform levels in ceviche samples (259 CFU/g) were significantly higher than the levels in sushi samples (95 CFU/g), according to a Kruskal-Wallis H test followed by the Dunn test (p < 0.05). The coliform levels in poke samples (196 CFU/g) were not significantly different from those in ceviche or sushi. All levels of E. coli and coliforms were considered acceptable or satisfactory/borderline according to standards for RTE seafood. None of the samples tested positive for Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes; however, other microorganisms were detected in 17 samples, including Listeria spp., Proteus mirabilis, Providencia rettgeri, and Morganella morganii. The results of this study are novel in that they present data on the microbiological safety and quality of ceviche, poke, and sushi dishes sold at retail in the United States, as well as provide a comparison across the three categories of raw, RTE seafood.


This article was originally published in Heliyon, volume 9, issue 6, in 2023.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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