Microbiological characterization of alheira, a typical Portuguese fermented sausage, and its relation with hygienic conditions of the processing environments Conference Paper uri icon


  • Fermented meat products are part of the daily diet in rural areas of Portugal. Nevertheless, in urban centers the demand for this kind of products has been increasing. Alheiras are traditional, smoked, naturally-fermented meat sausages, produced in the North of Portugal and generally in kitchens of small dimension, entitled regional kitchens. In this study three regional kitchens of alheiras, located in the North of Portugal, were evaluated in terms of microbiological quality of the environment – surfaces, equipment and ambient air -, handlers and food product, in two distinct periods: Period I – immediately after preparation and filling of sausage, and Period II – after five days of drying. In terms of microbiological quality of the surrounding air, poor hygienic conditions were often found for food preparation. Microorganisms were found only in two areas of surface equipment and utensils, namely, coliforms and E. coli. These results revealed poor hygienic practices. Microbiological analysis to the hands of food operators showed that only one person had unsatisfactory results. In relation to alheiras, these not present any danger to consumer health. Nevertheless, some high scores were detected in relation to mesophiles, which might decrease the quality of the product. It must be highlighted that microorganisms, such as, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and S. aureus, associated with foodborne diseases were not detected,

publication date

  • May 2011