Detection of virus or virus specific nucleic acid in foodstuff or bioproducts — hazards and risk assessment

  • M. Büttner
  • A. Oehmig
  • F. Weiland
  • H.-J. Rziha
  • E. Pfaff
Conference paper


There are two possibilities for virus contamination of foodstuff and bioproducts of animal origin: i) the presence of endogenous virus as a result of an acute or subclinical infection of animal raw material used for food processing or ii) contamination of food in the course of processing or thereafter. The latter must be considered as the highest risk for human consumers since the viral contamination mostly is caused by virus shedding people and the transmitted viruses are obligate human pathogens. Food from animals consumed as raw material (e.g. oysters) is listed in a high risk category concerning viral contamination (e.g. hepatovirus). Virus contamination of bioproducts such as vaccines, blood products or biological material used in surgery and for transplantations also is more hazardous because the application of contaminating virus usually occurs by circumvention of the natural barrier systems of the body. Moreover, in many cases immunosuppressed people are treated with bioproducts. Due to an enclosing shield of high protein and lipid content in food and bioproducts viruses are well protected against physical and chemical influences, however most preparation procedures for food are destructive for viruses. The detection of pseudorabies virus and pestivirus in biological fluids was tested using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR and cell culture propagation. PCR is a powerful method to detect viral nucleic acid whereas the detection of infectious virus in cell cultures is more limited, e. g. due to protein and lipid destroying conditions. Virus contamination of bioproducts should be considered as a hazard no matter which method has been used for its detection. Examples are given about the contamination of cell lines and vaccines.


Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus Classical Swine Fever Virus Rift Valley Fever African Swine Fever 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Büttner
    • 1
  • A. Oehmig
    • 1
  • F. Weiland
    • 1
  • H.-J. Rziha
    • 1
  • E. Pfaff
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of AnimalsTübingenFederal Republic of Germany

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