Avaliação integral de estratégias de intervenção baseadas em risco para melhorar a segurança microbiana dos enchidos tradicionais portugueses Grant uri icon


  • Currently, traditional food products have a privileged position with respect to European consumers who, after several food crises involving industrialised products, have become attracted to regional foods. Meanwhile, supported by EU policies, there is a widespread awareness that traditional foods are an instrument of economic recovery and rural development. As a great variety of traditional meat products of unique sensory attributes is produced in Portugal, the Portuguese government, in an effort to encourage their market expansion, has lately adopted mechanisms of protected denomination of origin and divulgation. However, the few scientific studies conducted indicated that these Portuguese sausages may harbour a range of pathogens. Most studies to date have been focused on Alheira, a traditional raw sausage, and considerably less attention has been paid to dry-fermented sausages. However, the two most important findings are: i the insufficient hygiene conditions during production, and the presence of microbial hazards in Portuguese sausages, being S. aureus, C.perfringens, L. monocytogenes and Salmonella the most prevalent pathogenic microorganisms EsPaAyGaMa07, FeBaSiVeMoSiMoHoGiTe07, EsAyGaPaFoMa06, EsSaFoMa06; and ii the high variability in microbial counts among batches of production EsPaSaMa08, FeBaVeMoSiMoHoGiTe06, probably arising from the high variability in the microbial quality of ingredients PaJuSiEsMa08 and in the production process ElFrBa06. Hence, there is first a need to thoroughly elucidate the incidence of microbial hazards and their causes in the production. On the other hand, fermented meats are complex systems whose physicochemical factors, microbial competing factors and intrinsic factors, if properly combined, can act as effective hurdles to the proliferation of L. monocytogenes LiLi09, HwPoJuInInLu09,DeCo03 and S. aureus BaHaDr08, AnMaMaGaVa05. Thus, there is also a pressing need to understand to what extent these factors can inhibit the growth of pathogens so that manufacture can be optimised to render safer products. This project proposes to undertake for first time an integral assessment of risk-based intervention strategies leading to the improvement of the microbial safety of selected products. The study will focus on two prevalent pathogens, S. aureus, L. monocytogenes in two dry-fermented sausages, Linguiça and Salpicao, which pose higher risk to the consumers as they may be eaten without cooking. This research is ‘integral’ because intervention strategies will be underpinned by four important pillars of the food safety paradigm, namely, i food chain data, ii fate studies and predictive microbiology, iii risk management measures and iv process optimisation. On the first year, data on the entire processing chain will become available by microbiological, physicochemical and manufacture surveys EsSaFoMa06, EsPaSaMa08, PePeBeEs08 from a number of regional producers. Analysis will elucidate contamination sources, distribution of pathogens, post-process contamination and associations between the sausage intrinsic properties and their microbial numbers. On the second year, fate studies of L. monocytogenes and S. aureus inoculated in a dry-fermented sausage prototype manufactured under laboratory-scale conditions ToHeElMoBjKo08, ThDeChVe05 will be conducted to assess the combined effects of factors known to reduce pathogen’s viability starter cultures, salt concentration and maturation temperature. Predictive models, at present non-existent for Portuguese sausages, will be dynamically developed from the fate studies data using mechanistic models GoReBu10; and optimisation will be then conducted to assess intervention strategies for improved microbial safety, without altering the organoleptic attributes. Furthermore, the data generated from these two large studies food chain surveys and survival modelling will be used in modelling the variability in microbial counts between batches of production GoBu11, which is of utmost importance when assessing risk management measures: microbiological criteria and statistical process control. The performance of microbiological criteria, as set by EC nº 1441/2007, will be tested and control charts will also be developed as an internal tool for industries to detect changes in microbial levels GoLeShBu12. The implementation of the proposed intervention strategies and control measures by regional industries, and the resulting safer and validated production processes as well as the current Portuguese policies of ‘protected denomination of origin’ will underpin the acceptability and expansion of these traditional products in EU markets, hence fostering agro-industry and regional development in Northern Portugal. Fig 1 succinctly shows the foremost reasons that substantiate the conduction of the proposed scientific research.
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date/time interval

  • July 1, 2013