Cheeses made with unpasteurized milk are a safety concern due to possible contamination with foodborne pathogens. Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 have been implicated in several outbreaks and recalls linked to Gouda cheese made with unpasteurized milk.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations requires cheeses made with unpasteurized milk to be aged at a minimum of 1.7°C for at least 60 days before entering interstate commerce.
The goal of this study was (i) to assess the population dynamics of L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 during aging of Gouda cheese when the pathogens were inoculated into the unpasteurized milk used for manufacture and (ii) to compare the native microbial populations throughout manufacture and aging.
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