Being a handmade product, the rennet cheese is prepared following regional and family traditions. In some places, the milk is obtained under sanitary conditions disabled and therefore has a high number of micro-organisms such as Escherichia coli. This study aimed to verify the survival of E. coli in rennet cheese made from experimentally contaminated milk, after storage for 21 days under refrigeration, at 4.0°C. According to the proposed treatment, each liter of pasteurized milk used to prepare the rennet cheese was inoculated with 1.0 ml concentrations of 103, 106 and 109 CFU/ml of E. coli ATCC 25922. After storage of rennet cheese for 21 days in refrigeration, it was observed that the pH varied with the concentration of E. coli present in the sample. A reduction of three log cycles E. coli stored in the cheese was observed as compared to initial concentration added to the milk. The need to maintain the cold chain was emphasized during their storage, because if there is E. coli in low counts, they can remain viable in the cheese made from contaminated milk.
Key words: Rennet cheese, milk, food microbiology, Escherichia coli.
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