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J Dairy Sci. 2013 Feb;96(2):815-23. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5865. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Fate of Shiga toxin-producing and generic Escherichia coli during production and ripening of semihard raw milk cheese.

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1
Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland. ils@fsafety.uzh.ch

Abstract

The fate of 5 different Escherichia coli strains, including 3 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strains, was analyzed during the production and ripening of semihard raw milk cheese. The strains, which were previously isolated from raw milk cheese, were spiked into raw milk before cheese production at 2 different levels (approximately 10(1) and 10(3) cfu/mL, respectively). Two cheese types were produced, which differed in cooking temperatures (40 and 46°C). The cheeses were sampled during manufacture and the 16-wk ripening period. An increase in E. coli counts of approximately 3.5 log(10) cfu/g occurred from raw milk to fresh cheese at d 1, which was attributed to a concentration effect during cheese production and growth of the strains. During ripening over 16 wk, a slow, continuous decrease was observed for all strains. However, significant differences were found between the E. coli strains at the applied spiking levels, whereas the inactivation was similar in the 2 different cheese types. The 2 generic E. coli strains survived at higher counts than did the 3 STEC strains. Nevertheless, only 1 of the 3 STEC strains showed significantly weaker survival at both spiking levels and in both cheese types. Six of 16 cheeses made from raw milk at a low spiking level contained more than 10 cfu/g of STEC at the end of the 16-wk ripening process. After enrichment, STEC were detected in almost all cheeses at both spiking levels. Particularly because of the low infectious dose of highly pathogenic STEC, even low colony counts in raw milk cheese are a matter of concern.

PMID:
23245958
DOI:
10.3168/jds.2012-5865
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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