This challenge study demonstrates that Listeria monocytogenes does not grow in Gouda cheese: during the first 8 weeks of ripening no growth was observed and between 8 and 52 weeks viable numbers declined significantly in a well-established Gouda microcheese system. Cheese milk was artificially contaminated just prior to addition of the starter culture. Three individual L. monocytogenes strains were used, including strains originating from cheese, a cheese plant environment and a reference strain. During curd formation, viable numbers of L. monocytogenes increased by 0.5 log cfu g-1, resulting from entrapment in the curd. No growth was observed during the first 8 weeks of ripening. A significant decline in the viable numbers of L. monocytogenes was observed in Gouda cheese that was ripened for longer than 8 weeks. Two factors that could possibly control the fate of L. monocytogenes in Gouda cheese were lactic acid and water activity.
- cheddar cheese
- inoculum size