Author : Hassan, A.A.
Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences,
2017, Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 1-6
The soft white cheese is considered one of the most popular locally manufactured cheese in Iraq, a kind of traditional cheese that is mainly produced from sheep milk. It usually becomes available in the markets of Mosul between the months of February and July. To investigate the microbiological quality, 25 samples of white, soft, un-salted fresh locally produced sheep cheese were collected from the market in Mosul. These cheese samples were examined by the quantity method to determine the total viable bacterial counts (TVC) and the total counts of coliform and Escherichia coli bacteria. The minimum, maximum and average results of the aforementioned bacterial counts were 1.0x106, 1.4x103, 1.4x102 CFU g-; 2.9x108, 6.0x107, 12.6x105 CFU g- and 18.0x107, 5.8x106, 3.1x105 CFU g-1, respectively. Corresponding to the ‘International Microbiological Reference Criteria’ for cheese, it could be clear from these results that the samples were highly contaminated. Hence, it can be concluded that the sanitary conditions were inadequate either during the milk production and cheese manufacturing process or throughout their distribution in the local market. Therefore, it is recommended to comply with the public health and sanitary measures during the process of local cheese production. In consequence, it is essential to follow the annual screening of local cheese in terms of bacterial counts to determine the degree of contamination and in order to develop a national standard microbiological criteria and quality control for local cheese.