Microbiological characterization of randomly selected Portuguese raw milk cheeses with reference to food safety

Gonçalo Almeida, Alexandre Figueiredo, Marta Rôla, Rui Manuel Barros, Paul Gibbs, Tim Hogg, Paula Teixeira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Seventy raw milk cheeses made in different regions of Portugal, both hard and soft varieties, made with cow's, ewe's, or goat's milk or combinations of these, were sampled within their quoted shelf lives for microbiological safety. On the basis of the presence or numbers of Escherichia coli, E. coli O157, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, cheeses were categorized as satisfactory, acceptable, unsatisfactory, or unacceptable and potentially hazardous. Twenty-two of the 70 cheeses were classified as satisfactory or acceptable. Thirty-seven of the cheeses were considered unsatisfactory because of the presence of E. coli, S. aureus, or both, while 11 of the cheeses were graded as unacceptable and potentially hazardous because of the presence of excessive numbers of S. aureus, E. coli, or L. monocytogenes and the presence of Salmonella in three of these. All cheeses graded as unacceptable and potentially hazardous were soft or semisoft cheeses made with ewe's and goat's milk, with the exception of two hard cheeses made with cow's milk. E. coli O157 was not detected in any of the cheeses. According to the present results, it seems that the presence or counts of pathogenic or indicator organisms in raw milk cheeses cannot be related to the processing conditions, milk type, or region of production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1710-1716
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Volume70
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

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