Foodborne viruses such as norovirus and hepatitis A virus (HAV) are highly transmissible, persistent in the environment, and resistant to many conventional inactivation methods. Foods can become contaminated with these viruses either at the source of harvest or during food handling and processing. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that foodborne viruses can survive desiccation and dry conditions. Several foodborne virus outbreaks have been linked to low-moisture foods (LMFs), indicating that these foods can be vehicles of virus transmission. However, the efficiencies of common virus extraction methodologies have not been examined with LMFs. We adapted the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15216-1:2017 method for virus recovery for use with chocolate, pistachios, and cornflakes. We also developed a magnetic bead assay for the recovery of HAV from LMFs and used the porcine gastric mucin–coated magnetic beads (PGM-MBs) to extract norovirus surrogates, feline calicivirus (FCV), and murine norovirus (MNV) from the same LMFs. The efficiency of virus recovery using the bead-based assay was then compared with that of the ISO 15216-1:2017 method. In chocolate and pistachios, the recovery rates with the PGM-MB method were 5.6- and 21.3-fold higher, respectively, for FCV and 1.65- and 18-fold higher, respectively, for MNV than those with the ISO 15216-1:2017 method. However, the PGM-MB method failed to recover MNV and FCV from cornflakes. The recovery rates for HAV in chocolate, pistachios, and corn flakes with the magnetic bead method were 11.5-, 3-, and 5.6-fold higher, respectively, than those with the ISO 15216-1:2017 method. Thus, depending upon the food matrix and the target virus, the bead-based assays can be used to efficiently and rapidly extract viruses from LMFs.

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This work was supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.