Evaluation of the microbiological quality of minimally processed vegetables

Abstract The aim of this study was to evaluate the hygienic-sanitary quality of minimally processed vegetables commercialized in the city of Concórdia, Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Eight distinct products, sold in 3 different supermarkets, totalizing 24 samples were evaluated. Of the analyzed samples, just one was in discordance with the microbiological parameters established by the Brazilian legislation (210 MPN/g of coliforms at 45 °C for Kale 2). Beyond the absence of Salmonella sp. indicated in legislation, all samples also indicated the absence of positive coagulase staphylococci and Listeria monocytogenes. The most expressive microbial counts were obtained when evaluating the aerobic mesophilic microorganisms (ranging from 2.8×102 to 2.7×107), and for molds and yeasts (ranging from 4.5×102 to 4.9×105). We highlight that the quality and shelf-life of minimally-processed vegetables directly depend on the handling throughout the production chain, since obtaining the raw material, to processing and commercialization. Thus, periodic evaluations of these products can reduce the risks to consumer health and favor the commercial expansion of the segment of fresh and minimally processed vegetables.