Medycyna Wet. 67 (5), 335-338, 2011
Berthold-Pluta A., Pluta A., Zaniecka M
Microbiological quality of oscypek cheeses
Among regional Polish dairy products, such as redykołka, bundz, and bryndza cheeses, the most popular one is oscypek cheese. Oscypek is a cheese produced in over a dozen districts of the mountainous Podhale region. It is obtained from raw sheep milk or a blend of sheep and cow milk mixed in appropriate proportions. Oscypek is a pasta filata type of cheese, smoked or unsmoked. The aim of the research was to evaluate the microbiological quality of oscypek cheeses produced in the Podhale region. In total, 32 samples of cheeses were examined: 16 samples of smoked cheeses and 16 samples unsmoked. The following parameters were measured: total bacteria count (TBC), most probable number (MPN x g-1) of coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli, MPN of Clostridium perfringens, and counts of yeasts and moulds. Coliform bacteria and E. coli, the microorganisms used as indicators of manufacturing hygiene, were present in all samples. The MPN of coliforms exceeded 102 per 1 g in 81% of the smoked oscypek cheese samples and in 88% of the unsmoked ones. C. perfringens spores were present in 19% of all samples, but their MPN x g-1 did not exceed 10. The presence of moulds and yeasts was established in 63% and 100% of the cheese samples, respectively. Moulds and yeasts were present in the amounts of 10-103 and 102-105 cfu/g, respectively, in the smoked cheeses, and in the amounts of 10-104 and 103-105 cfu/g, respectively, in the unsmoked cheeses. The presence of coliforms in all the oscypek samples examined indicates deficiencies in production hygiene. This was also confirmed by the considerable percentage of cheese samples contaminated with moulds and yeasts. However, the number of these microorganisms was comparable with their presence in similar cheeses produced industrially from raw sheep milk or pasteurized cow milk. In the case of oscypek cheeses, the process of smoking may lower the TBC and the number of moulds and yeasts by approx. 1 log row compared with unsmoked oscypek cheeses. However, cheese smoking does not reduce the number of coliforms, E. coli and C. perfringens.
Keywords: microbiological quality, regional sheep cheeses, pasta filata cheeses