Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1678-4162
ASSUMPCAO, E.G.; PICCOLI-VALLE, R.H.; HIRSCH, D. and ABREU, L.R.. Identification of main sources of contamination with Staphylococcus aureus in Prato cheese manufacturing process. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. [online]. 2003, vol.55, n.3, pp. 366-370. ISSN 1678-4162. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-09352003000300019.
In order to identify the main sources of contamination with Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus coagulase positive (SC+), a manufacture process of prato cheese in a plant located in Lavras, State of Minas Gerais, was evaluated five times from October/2000 to April/2001. Raw and pasteurized milk, hand and forearms of cheese makers, brine, hoops flushing water and cheeses were analyzed for SC+ and S. aureus. High counts of SC+ and S. aureus (4x103 to 4.8x106 CFU/ml and 4x103 to 3.3x105 CFU/ml, respectively) were found in raw milk in four evaluations, but they decreased to values lower than 1 CFU/ml after pasteurization. In three evaluations, counts of SC+ in prato cheese samples were above legal limits (104, 105 and 2.3x105 CFU/g). The hoops flushing water and brine were not important contamination sources, both with counts lower than 1CFU/ml. The cheese makers probably were the main source of contamination, since high counts in cheese were correlated to high counts in their hands (4x102 CFU/cm2) or forearms (4.7x102 and 3.3x103 CFU/cm2).
Keywords : prato cheese; Staphylococcus aureus; contamination; cheese maker.