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Title: Bacterial and fungal contaminants in caprine and ovine cheese : a meta-analysis assessment
Authors: Griffin, Sholeem
Falzon, Owen
Camilleri, Kenneth
Valdramidis, Vasilis
Keywords: Sheep milk
Milk -- Microbiology
Raw milk -- Microbiology
Raw milk -- Health aspects
Cheese -- Microbiology -- Research
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Griffin, S., Falzon, O., Camilleri, K., & Valdramidis, V. (2020). Bacterial and fungal contaminants in caprine and ovine cheese: a meta-analysis assessment. Food Research International, 137, 109445.
Abstract: The dairy industry is of great importance to the European economy contributing towards € 8.7 billion of the total trade surplus. Caprine and ovine milk amount to 3.1% of the 152 million tonnes of milk produced in Europe, 95% of which is transformed into dairy products such as cheese. This cheese is mostly produced in small holdings from untreated milk, making it a high-risk dairy product for human consumption. A total of 49 foodborne disease outbreaks caused by dairy products were registered in 2017 in Europe. Therefore, these products remain a serious health risk. This meta-analysis examined 30 studies assessing bacterial or fungal contamination of caprine or ovine milk cheeses. The significantly contaminating microbes were found to be Acremonium spp. (19%), Aspergillus spp. (23%), Bacillus spp. (2%), Brucella spp. (34%), Enterobactericae spp. (36%), Enterococcus spp. (28%), Escherichia spp. (15%), Fusarium spp. (21%), Geotrichum spp. (22%), Listeria spp. (11%), Mucor spp. (15%), Penicillium spp. (25%), Phoma spp. (20%), Rhizopus spp. (15%), Salmonella spp. (3%), Scopulariopsis spp. (19%) and Staphylococcus spp. (25%) in caprine and ovine cheese, indicating a variety of food pathogens as well as spoilers. Raw milk is nutritious hence prone to contamination. However, since traditional cheese is often made from untreated milk, it is important to educate cheesemakers of key safety measures and good manufacturing practice allowing for the safe production of these food items.
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