Abstract The present research was conducted to check the presence of Listeria spp. in some meat and chicken products purchased from retail supermarkets in Assiut (Egypt). A total of 100 samples including 25 samples each of minced frozen beef, luncheon, frozen chicken legs and frozen chicken breast fillets were collected over a 7-month period between January and July 2009 and analyzed for the presence of Listeria spp. In addition, 28 stool cultures examined for Listeria spp. from hospitalized children resident in Assiut Pediatric University Hospital with diarrhea or fever. Out of the total 100 meat samples examined, Listeria spp. were detected in 8 (32%) of minced frozen beef, 8 (32%) of luncheon, 13 (52%) of frozen chicken leg and 14 (56%) of frozen chicken fillet samples analyzed, respectively. Regarding the examined 28 stool cultures from hospitalized children with underlying disease in Assiut Univ. hospital, 2 (7.14%) were found positive for Listeria spp. For
identification of L. monocytogenes using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), two primers were selected to detect 217-pb fragment ofthe prfA (transcriptional activator of the virulence factor) gene for L. monocytogenes. 13 selected Listeria isolates displayed beta-haemolysis on sheep blood agar and positive CAMP test were further identified using PCR. PCR results showed that L. monocytogenes were confirmed in one of minced imported frozen meat examined, two of luncheon samples and two of frozen chicken legs with the total incidence of 5 isolates (5%) from the total 100 examined food samples. This suggests the presence of a significant public health hazard linked to the consumption of these meat and chicken products sold in Assiut city contaminated with L. monocytogenes. The public health significance of these pathogens as well as recommended sanitary measures was discussed.