Quality and safety of artisan cheese produced in the serrana region of Santa Catarina

Giane Helenita Pontarolo, Fernanda Danielle Melo, Caroline Lopes Martini, Paula Wildemann, Dileta Regina Moro Alessio, Ricardo Antonio Pilegi Sfaciotte, André Thaler Neto, Eliana Knackfuss Vaz, Sandra Maria Ferraz


The serrano artisan cheese produced from raw milk of dairy cattle is a typical product of high-altitude farms in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. However, marketing of the cheeses occurs illegally because they lack the minimum maturation period required for cheese produced from raw milk. The production of artisan cheeses is required to follow strict hygiene standards. This study aimed to test the quality and safety of cheeses that were produced in 31 farms of the Serrana region in Santa Catarina after 14 and 28 days of maturation. Coliform count was measured at 35 °C, and presence of other microorganisms such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, Listeria spp., and Salmonella spp. were also tested. Fat and protein percentages, acidity, salt content, and humidity were also evaluated. Data were subjected to statistical analyses using the SAS® software. After 14 and 28 days of maturation, 74.19% (23/31) and 64.52% (20/31) of samples, respectively, showed higher numbers of coliforms at 35 °C than those permissible by law. Higher than permissible numbers of E. coli were observed in 45.16% (14/31) and 48.39% (15/31) of the samples analyzed after 14 and 28 days of maturation, respectively. Coagulase-positive staphylococci values above 103 CFU/g were observed in 54.84% (17/31) and 51.61% (16/31) of cheese samples after 14 and 28 days of maturation, respectively. Contamination with Salmonella spp. was not detected. However, Listeria monocytogenes serovar 4b was isolated in 3.23% (1/31) and 6.45% (2/31) of samples after 14 and 28 days of maturation, respectively. The results of humidity tests classified the cheese samples into three categories: low, medium, and high humidity. Semi fat cheeses were predominant in both maturation periods, although the samples were classified in thin, semi fat, and fat cheeses. The main variations in the compositions of analyzed samples occurred for salt and acidity levels. The maturation process has not proven to be effective in reducing microbiological contamination to compliance levels. Considering the heterogeneity of the analyzed cheese samples, the frequency of non-conformities with respect to microorganisms and pathogens present in the samples, this study indicates the necessity to improve the Serrano artisan cheese production system through adoption of good manufacturing practice measures.


Escherichia coli; Listeria monocytogenes; Salmonella spp; Coagulase-positive staphylococci; 35°C coliforms.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2017v38n2p739

Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433/1679-0359
E-mail: semina.agrarias@uel.br
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional