The Minas fresh cheese is very popular in Brazil and marketing it at low prices leads to its acceptance to large sections of the population. To be produced, the law requires the use of pasteurized milk as the base material, however, this requirement is often ignored. Being fresh and moist, the shelf time of Minas fresh cheese is short, requiring to market the product after it has been manufactured. The arrival of this product to markets, however, usually exceeds around 7 to day 10 days after the date of its production. The use of raw milk as the base material, the absence of maturation and the ease of contamination during processing are examples of factors that compromise the microbiological quality of cheeses. Since they are ready-to-eat foods, individuals are passively susceptible to toxinfections mainly caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, pathogenic Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The hygienic-sanitary evaluation appears as a way of investigating the imminent risks of eating cheese. Therefore, this study aims to quantify coagulase positive staphylococci, determine the most probable number of coliforms and investigate the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in Minas fresh cheese sold in the city of Botucatu, on dates close to its manufacturing and on its expiration date. Staphylococcus strains will be subjected to research of enterotoxins encoding genes A, B, C and D. With the information obtained from these data, the cheese will be assessed qualitatively according to Brazilian food safety law.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: