Microbiological quality of Pecorino Siciliano “primosale” cheese on retail sale in the street markets of Palermo, Italy

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Pecorino Siciliano (PS) “primosale” is a traditional Sicilian fresh soft cheese made from sheep’s milk. Short-ripening time and production from unpasteurized or raw milk can facilitate bacterial contamination of PS “primosale”. The microbiological quality of “primosale” on retail sale in the street markets of Palermo, Italy was studied by detecting the common food pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus and indicator microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcaceae. In our study, 4% and 44% of the samples, respectively, did not comply with the acceptability levels fixed by European regulations for S. aureus and E. coli. A high contamination of bacteria belonging to Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcaceae was found in 42% and 50% of the cheeses analyzed, respectively. Such results indicate poor husbandry and poor hygiene practices during milk collection orpreservation or during cheese production processes and handling. In addition, the retail sale conditions may have played a role in cheese contamination since a correlation was found between poor microbiological quality and some selling parameters. This study emphasizes the need to improve production hygiene throughout the PS food chain in line with the traditional cheese-making procedures. Labelling of PS with clear information on whether the cheese was prepared from raw milk also requires improvement.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)179-185
Numero di pagine7
RivistaNew Microbiologica
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)

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