Research – Safety assessment and microbiological quality of homemade soy‐cheese in Nigeria

Wiley Online Library

Abstract

Fermented soy‐cheese is a popularly consumed food product in Nigeria. Its’ production is typically homemade, though it is generally retailed for commercial purpose. To investigate the microbiological quality and possible factors contributing to contamination at each phase of its’ production, soy‐beans, soy‐milk, and the resultant soy‐cheese were subjected to standard microbiological analyses. Candida sake and Saccharomyces cerevisiae were identified in soy‐milk and soy‐cheese. Raw materials and equipment were identified as sources of contamination. Presence of Staphylococcus spp. and Salmonella spp. were reported in the soy‐bean and soy‐milk. The occurrence of pathogen‐indicating microorganisms was observed in all the production stages. Hence, the consumption of freshly prepared soy‐cheese may not be encouraged except proper handling practices are incorporated during its’ production process. This calls for sensitization and training of local producers to curb possible outbreak of foodborne disease.

Practical applications

Microbiological analyses of soy‐cheese production process will help to recognize possible points of contamination. This will also help food safety/health organizations in educating small scale industries as well as home‐based soy‐cheese producers on the production phase(s) that could be nodes of contamination. Additionally, proper hygiene practices during handling could prevent possible outbreak of foodborne disease(s) through the consumption of such products.

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