Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania
Aiste Kabašinskiene is a full time Associate Professor of a Department of Food Safety and Quality of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. The main focus is teaching of Food Hygiene and Microbiology subjects. Currently, she is highly interested in the microbiological analysis of retail food, especially RTE food.
Poor hygiene is one of the most relevant problems in retail market, closely related with the quality and safety of the food. The aim of the work was to evaluate in-store hygiene conditions (up to 28 points) of minced meat (chicken, pork, beef and turkey meat; n=96), cold and hot smoked fish (Salmo salar, Clupea harengus membras, Abramis brama, Scomber scombrus; n=96) and fresh coleslaw (n=40), sold in three different retail market places (supermarkets, medium size shops and farmers markets; in total 15 places). Additionally the relationship of microbiological quality (Aerobic colony count (ACC), Coliforms and E. coli) and safety (Salmonella spp., L. monocytogenes) criteria and in-store hygiene condition was evaluated. The results have shown that the most often found hygiene violations were improper storage conditions of the food, cross contamination and poor personal hygiene (improper washing of hands, dirty clothes, etc.). Hygiene of the farmers market was evaluated as insufficient (12 points out of 28), whereas the highest hygiene level (28 points out of 28) was assured in supermarkets. ACC of the analyzed samples ranged from 2.9 log CFU g-1 (in coleslaw from supermarkets) to 8.18 log CFU g-1 (in turkey meat from farmers market). The highest amounts of coliforms were found in coleslaw (5.21 log CFU g-1) and beef (6.85 log CFU g-1) bought in farmers markets. E coli were not found neither in coleslaw or in pork samples from supermarkets, whereas contamination of turkey meat from farmers market was the highest (4.56 log CFU g-1). However no significant differences were found between the products. Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. were absent in all samples. The results have also shown a significantly reliable influence (r=0.44, p<0.05) of the hygiene conditions of farmers markets on the ACC of the products.