Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the manufacture of Mozzarella cheese

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AimsThe fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 was investigated during the manufacture of Mozzarella cheese.Methods and ResultsThe Mozzarella cheese was made from unpasteurized milk which was inoculated to contain ca 105 cfu ml−1E. coli O157:H7. Two different heating temperatures (70 and 80 °C), commonly used during curd stretching, were investigated to determine their effects on the viability of E. coli O157:H7 in Mozzarella cheese. Stretching at 80 °C for 5 min resulted in the loss of culturability of E. coli O157:H7 strains, whereas stretching at 70 °C reduced the number of culturable E. coli O157:H7 by a factor of 10.ConclusionsThe results show that stretching curd at 80 °C for 5 min is effective in controlling E. coli O157:H7 during the production of Mozzarella cheese. Brining and storage at 4 °C for 12 h was less effective than the stretching.Significance and Impact of the StudyMozzarella cheese should be free of E. coli O157:H7 only if temperatures higher than or equal to 80 °C are used during milk processing.

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