Tracking microbial quality, safety and environmental contamination sources in artisanal goat cheesemaking factories

Olga Maria Bonilla-Luque, Aricia Possas, Marta L. Cabo, Pedro Rodriguez-Lopez, Antonio Valero

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A harmonised microbiological survey was performed in two artisanal factories of raw goat milk cheeses (A and B) located in the Andalusian region (Spain). A total of 165 different control points or samples (raw materials, final products, food-contact surfaces [FCS], and air) were examined as microbial and pathogen sources of contamination of artisanal goat raw milk cheeses. For raw milk samples analysed from both producers, the concentrations of aerobic-mesophilic bacteria (AMB), total coliforms, coagulase-positive Staphylococcus spp. (CPS), lacticacid bacteria (LAB) and moulds and yeasts ranged between 3.48 and 8.59, 2.45-5.48, 3.42-4.81, 4.99-8.59 and 3.35-6.85 log cfu/mL respectively. For the same microbial groups, the analysis of raw milk cheeses revealed concentrations ranging from 7.82 to 8.88, 2.00-6.82, 2.00-5.28, 8.11-9.57 and 2.00-5.76 log cfu/g, respectively. Although the raw material analysed from producer A presented higher microbial loads and between-batch variability, it was B the producer with the most loaded final products. Regarding the microbial air quality, the fermentation area, storage room, milk reception and packaging room were the most AMB loaded places, while the ripening chamber was the area with higher fungal loads in bioareosol from both producers. Conveyor belts, cutting machine, storage boxes and brine tank were highlighted as the most contaminated FCS evaluated. Staphylococcus aureus was the only pathogen detected within the set of 51 isolates from samples as revealed by MALDI-TOF and molecular PCR, with a prevalence of 12.5% for samples from the producer B. The public health risk attributed to the consumption of artisanal goat cheese should not be neglected, and may consider the whole cheesemaking processing chain, from microbiological quality of raw milk to the ready-to-eat final product, especially concerning the presence of S. aureus.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article104301
Pàgines (de-a)104301
Nombre de pàgines14
Data online anticipadade maig 2023
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - de set. 2023


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