A new methodology is developed using bifidobacteria for improving hygienic quality of raw milk, raw milk cheese, meat and meat products. Bifidobacteria represent one of the major bacterial groups in the human as well as the animal intestine. It was also shown that Bifidobacterium species originating from human are different from those originating from animal. This methodology will quantify and identify at species level the bifidobacteria isolated from food and environment. This will (i) indicate the source of contamination (raw material, personnel) (ii) ensure traceability of the contamination along the entire food processing chain from raw material to food product. The development of molecular methods as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) will enable the use of this test in routine diagnostic during food processing. In conclusion, a modification of the European directives 92/46 and 94/65 concerning the microbiology of these food products will be proposed.
The general objective is to define a new standard, using the bifidobacteria (genus Bifidobacterium) as indicator organisms in order to point out unsatisfactory hygienic conditions of raw material and food products. These new indicators will be applied (1) to raw milk and cheese made with raw milk, the quality of which depends on the hygiene of milking, the farm environment and the hygiene along the cheese production chain, and (2 ) to meat and meat products in which bifidobacteria will indicate hygienic shortcomings during slaughter, cutting and deboning as well as retail trade. Good hygienic practices must lead to the elimination of all bacterial hazards such as Listeria, E. coli EHEC or Salmonella spp. Recently, the presence of Listeria monocytogenes mostly detected in French raw milk cheese lead to considerable disquiet of the consumers as do the fact that about 23.4 % of the European foodborne disease outbreaks were associated with meat and meat products.
- The knowledge or the Bifidobacterium species that contaminate raw milk, cheese made with raw milk, meat and meat products will point out the sites from which the contamination derives.
- The development of a fast, sensitive and generally applicable technique will enable industries to detect bifidobacteria during processing and to take corrective actions immediately.
- A new standard modifying the European directives 92/46 and 94/65 concerning the microbiology conditions will be proposed.