The aim of this study was to determine the survival kinetics of Salmonella spp. in unripened, fresh raw milk cheese during storage at 5, 15 and 25 °C. Microbiological (coliforms and E. coli, S. thermophilus, Lactococcus sp., total microbial count and Enterobacteriaceae) and physicochemical (pH and aw) characteristics were also determined. Two primary models were used to estimate the kinetic parameters of Salmonella spp., namely Weibull and Baranyi and Roberts (no lag) models. Additionally, goodness-of-fit of the primary models was assessed by calculating the R-Square and mean square error. Salmonella spp. growth in the unripened raw milk cheese was inhibited during storage, but nevertheless bacteria survived at 5 °C for 33 days (2.5 log cfu/g) and 15 °C for 18 days (1.8 log cfu/g). A decrease in the number of Salmonella spp. populations from an initial concentration 6.6 log cfu/g to below a detection limit was observed at 25 °C after 7 days of storage of contaminated cheese samples. It was concluded that the storage temperature significantly influenced the inactivation rate of Salmonella spp. in fresh raw milk cheese and proceeded faster at 25 °C compared to remaining storage temperatures.
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