Queijo artesanal Porungo: melhorias na produção e qualidade microbiológica
Cardoso, Maria Luiza
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Porungo cheese is a product traditionally present in the southwest region of São Paulo with its own characteristics of mozzarella cheese. During the manufacture of Porungo cheese, a microbiota naturally present in milk, endogenous yeast, is used. Lactic acid bacteria, the main components of endogenous yeast, in addition to contributing to the acidification process of the dough, which is fundamental from a technological and sensory point of view, provide an increase in its useful life through the production of several metabolites with antimicrobial potential, such as bacteriocins. Since 2015, researchers from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) have assisted the producers of Porungo cheese, visiting the producing properties, analyzing the cheeses and offering training courses focusing on good manufacturing practices. Thus, this work sought to assess the impact of UFSCar's research on different aspects of traditional Porungo cheese production, as well as the microbiological quality of these cheeses over the shelf life. To assess the impact of the research carried out to date with producers of Porungo cheese, a structured questionnaire was developed for 10 producers. The microbiological quality of the cheeses was evaluated based on data collected from five rural properties. The cheeses were analyzed over 60 days in two different periods of the year (dry and rainy) for the total coliform parameters, thermotolerant coliforms and Staphylococcus aureus. The interviewed producers reported that UFSCar's research activities were essential for the improvement of cheese production and quality. Increased product advertising has increased consumer demand, improving the product's sales value. There are still some issues to be improved, mainly in relation to its legalization with the Municipal Inspection Service. The contamination of cheeses by total and thermotolerant coliforms was below the maximum limit established by the legislation over the analyzed time, indicating the probable safety regarding contamination by other important pathogenic microbial groups. On the other hand, the high count of S. aureus is impossible to correlate with the requirement of the legislation, since the legislation determines limits for the count of positive coagulase S. aureus, and the coagulase test was not performed. Thus, it is concluded that producers must be attentive to the hygiene of the milking and cheese handling through the effective implementation of good manufacturing practices.
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