Microbiological status of minced meat at retail in Belgrade district
This study was conducted to determine the microbiological status of 390 beef and pork minced meat samples collected over three years from 52 retailers in the territory of Belgrade. The numbers of aerobic colony counts, Escherichia coli, and the presence of Salmonella spp. are prescribed criteria for this group of meat semi-products. Salmonella spp. was confirmed in one sample of minced beef meat (0.8%), while unsatisfactory E. coli counts were only determined in pork meat samples (2.7%). In 2021, all samples complied with the microbiological criteria for minced meat The highest occurrence of positive samples was observed during the III quarter of 2022 (P=0.04) with a frequency of 9.3%. The level of contamination of minced pork with E. coli bacteria in the same quarter was significantly higher compared to the II quarter of 2022 (627±75 vs. 292±9 cfu/g, P=0.009). Improvement of process hygiene and revision of process control, along with permanent education of food staff on the principles of GMP and GHP, are necessary for maintaining food safety and public health.