Determination of microbial contamination sources at a Frankfurter sausage processing line


Abstract: This study was conducted to determine microbial contamination sources during sausage processing. The samples were taken at 6 different stages of the sausage processing line in a local plant. Minced meat, sausage batter, stuffed sausage, cooked sausage, peeled sausage, and pasteurized sausage samples were examined microbiologically. Moreover, spices and ice water used in production, personnel hands, and equipment were examined. Counts of total aerobic mesophilic bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, yeasts, and molds in minced meat were found to be 7.02, 3.83, 4.42, and 1.62 log cfu/g, respectively. E. coli and yeast-mold counts in sausage batter reached 3.99 and 1.72 log cfu/g, respectively. Heating for cooking was effective in reducing microbial counts. Total plate (3.93 log cfu/g) and S. aureus (1.08 log cfu/g) counts in cooked sausages decreased; E. coli and yeast-mold were not detected. According to the results, raw material and spices were found as primary contamination sources. Personnel hands and equipments were found as secondary contamination sources. Microbial counts in personnel hands showed significant correlations with the counts of the samples taken from all processing stages. Microorganism counts determined in overall processing were not at harmful levels for human health and the microbial load of the final product was within critical limits.

Keywords: Microbial contamination, sausage processing, hygiene

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