Storage Temperatures Necessary to Maintain Cheese Safety

Jay Russell Bishop, Marianne Smukowski Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 26, no. 10, pp. 714-724, Oct 2006 Volume 26, Issue 10: Pages 714–724

Available information on bacterial pathogen growth, stasis, and death in cheeses was reviewed and evaluated to determine storage temperatures necessary to maintain product safety. In view of the variety and large volume of cheeses consumed throughout the world, the incidence of foodborne outbreaks associated with cheeses is extremely low. Research revealed that the inherent characteristics of most cheeses create a hostile environment for bacterial pathogens, especially at elevated ripening and storage temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended that the following cheeses, manufactured in the United States with pasteurized or heat treated (> 63°C for >16 seconds) milk, should be exempt from refrigeration requirements during ripening, storage, shipping, and display: Asiago (medium and old), Cheddar, Colby, Feta, Monterey Jack, Muenster, Parmesan, Pasteurized process, Provolone, Romano, and Swiss/Emmentaler. It must be stressed that the manufacture of these cheeses must be done under the proper conditions of Good Hygiene Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, and HACCP principles, and according to CFR requirements. In addition, the natural cheeses must include active cultures, and the storage and display temperatures must not exceed 30°C.

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