This study investigated the microbiological quality and presence of bacterial foodborne pathogens in 51 raw milk cheeses (mainly semihard and hard cheese) and 53 raw meat products (cured meat products and sausages) marketed at farm level. With regard to Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia (E.) coli, and coagulase-positive staphylococci (CPS), the examined products were generally of a good microbiological quality. Enterobacteriaceae were found in seven cheeses (1.0×102 – 8.8×104 CFU/g) and one sausage (2.0×102 CFU/g). Three of these cheeses were also positive for E. coli. CPS results were comparable for cheeses (5.9%; 1.0-6.0×102 CFU/g) and meat products (3.8%; 1.0-2.0×102 CFU/g). On the other hand, such raw products may harbor potential health hazards as Listeria (L.) monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE)-producing Staphylococcus (S.) aureus. L. monocytogenes were found in one sausage and the isolate belonged to the serotype 1/2c. The two STEC isolates harbored stx1a (cheese) or stx2e (sausage), but both lacked eae and did not belong to the top five-serogroups. Of the five S. aureus isolates, the three cheese isolates belonged to the clonal complex (CC) 8, CC22, and CC705, the two sausage isolates belonged to CC7, and all isolates harbored genes for SEs. Thus, to avoid contaminations and to prevent foodborne pathogens from entering the food chain, strict compliance with good hygiene practices during milk and cheese production or meat production is of central importance.
Raw milk and meat products; Farm level; Listeria monocytogenes; Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli; Staphylococcus aureus.