JOURNAL OF FOOD AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT, vol.7, pp.111-115, 2009 (SCI-Expanded)
Beside meat products, spices are used in preparation of various foods for seasoning, flavouring and imparting aroma in all over the world. Because of the warm and humid climate, poor collection conditions, unpretentious production process and extended drying times, spices are exposed to a wide range of microbial contamination. In addition, spices can be contaminated through dust and waste water in unpackaged spices which are sold in markets and bazaars. Our study is a comprehensive research that aimed to determine the microbiological quality of spices used in meat industry and it was conducted with a large number of samples sold in Istanbul, Turkey. A total of 420 samples of 7 different kinds of spices (black pepper, red pepper, white pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice and ginger) were collected from markets and bazaars. The counts of total mesophilic aerobic bacteria, yeasts, moulds, S. aureus, E. coli, sulphite-reducing anaerobic bacteria, B. cereus and the presence of Salmonella spp. were analyzed. The results were evaluated according to Turkish Food Codex. The results of this paper demonstrate that spices may contain pathogenic bacteria which are potential health threat to consumers. Use of sterilised spices in meat industry will be useful to minimise the hygiene and health risks.