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Adulteration with horsemeat and bacteriological quality of sausages and mortadella samples in Costa Rica

Author: 
Stephanie Azofeifa-Salas, Mauricio Redondo-Solano, Gustavo A. Gutiérrez-Espeleta and María Laura Arias-Echandi
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Ready to eat meat represents an important diet component worldwide and Costa Rica does not escape this trend. Generally, these products are made from poultry, beef and pork meat; however, the fraudulent replacement for horsemeat has been reported. Objective: The aim of this work was to determine the potential contamination with potential foodborne pathogens and the adulteration with undeclared horse meat of 120 mortadella and 120 sausage samples acquired in the four provinces that conform the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Methods: Bacteriological analysis included the Most Probable Number (MPN) of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, presence of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp, and Clostridium perfringens. Presence of horse’s DNA was determined in 73 sausage and 42 mordatella samples using real time PCR methodology. Results: Results obtained show the presence of pathogenic microorganisms and horsemeat in the samples analyzed. A total of 47 (21,4%) isolates of E. coli, 59 (26,8%) of Staphylococcus aureus and 16 (7,3%) of Listeria monocytogenes were obtained from the 240 samples analyzed. No isolates of Salmonella spp and Clostridium perfringens were obtained. An overall positivity of 48,7% was determined for horsemeat, including a 54,7% positivity for mortadella samples and 45,2% for sausage. Conclusions: Data obtained shows that there is an important fraud in ready to eat meat products, and also that the contamination or mishandling of these products may represent a risk for public health.

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