Author(s): Fang TJ, Wei QK, Liao CW, Hung MJ, Wang TH
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Abstract A total of 164 samples of 18 degrees C ready-to-eat (RTE) food products, purchased in 1999-2000 from convenience stores and supermarkets in central Taiwan, were examined to determine the microbiological quality of these products. The 18 degrees C RTE food products, manufactured by 16 factories, were divided into groups based on the type of food and their major ingredients. Aerobic plate count, coliforms, Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and psychrotrophic Pseudomonas spp. were evaluated. The incidence of E. coli and coliforms in these 18 degrees C RTE food products was 7.9\% and 75.0\%, respectively, while 49.8\% and 17.9\% of the samples were found to contain B. cereus and S. aureus, respectively. Among the samples tested, 1.3\% of the food products contained more than 10(5) CFU g(-1) of B. cereus and 0.7\% contained more than 10(5) CFU g(-1) of S. aureus. The pH values of the samples were all below 7.0, except for cold noodles, which had pH values ranging from 5.18 to 8.20. Among the five types of 18 degrees C food products tested, the highest incidence of E. coli (16\%) and Pseudomonas spp. (64.0\%) were detected in hand-rolled sushi in a cone shape. On the other hand, the highest incidence rate of coliforms, B. cereus, and S. aureus were found in sandwiches (88\%), cold noodles (66.7\%) and rice balls rolled in seaweed (25.0\%), respectively. Food products made of ham contained the highest incidence of coliforms (88.0\%) and E. coli (16.0\%), while food products containing meat and ham as the major ingredients had the highest incidence rates of B. cereus (62.5\%) and S. aureus (26.1\%), respectively. For coliforms, E. coli, B. cereus and S. aureus, the percentage of 18 degrees C RTE food products exceeding the microbiological standards for RTE food accepted by Republic of China was 75.0\%, 7.9\%, 49.8\% and 17.9\%, respectively. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.
This article was published in Int J Food Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Food Processing & Technology