The microbiological profile of foods in the Republic of Cyprus: 1991-2000
Nikolaou, Andri Silvia
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In Cyprus, as part of the exercised official food microbiological control, 28835 of a large variety of foodstuffs were examined during the years 1991-2000. Parameters examined included Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio spp., E.coli and aerobic plate count. The results indicate a prevalence of 1.8% for Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes, with desserts ranking first as the primary vehicle for Salmonella spp. and cured meats for L. monocytogenes. S. aureus was isolated in 0.7% of the samples examined in significant, potentially hazardous levels (> 104 cfu g-1), whereas B. cereus in 1% of the samples in numbers (> 104 cfu g-1). The most common food vehicle for both pathogens was found to be traditional Cyprus cheese. V. parahaemolyticus and V. cholerae non-01 were isolated exclusively from imported frozen, raw prawns and shrimps at isolation rates of 6.9% and 1.3%, respectively. The incidence of E. coli at levels > 102 g-1 amounted to 6% of the samples examined, with traditional Cyprus cheese being the leading food vehicle. High aerobic plate counts were found in desserts, ready-to-eat meals, sandwiches and cured, non-fermented meats. The results presented in this paper indicate for the most part the good microbiological quality achieved by the majority of the food industry in Cyprus.