Australian deli meats a microbiological worry

I look forward to the peer-reviewed paper, because PR before publishing is usually a bad idea. I also like the messaging Publix supermarkets use in the U.S.

A new study by students at Adelaide University, which will be presented this week at a Perth conference, shows hygienic food handling is not practised at many of the city’s supermarket delicatessens.

publix.deli.warningThe study found 134 out of 174 samples of various ready-to-eat deli meats bought at randomly selected supermarkets had bacterial levels that failed to meet food standards guidelines.

“Although no recognised food poisoning pathogens such as Escherichia coli or Salmonella species were found on these meats, the high bacterial count suggests that hygiene has been compromised,” said the university’s Professor Michael Reichel.

“Such out-of-control processes are also susceptible to contamination with serious food poisoning organisms.”

Sliced salami, fritz and roast pork showed the highest proportions of unsatisfactory bacterial counts.

Ham and chicken meats had lower levels of bacteria, but two-thirds of those samples still failed to meet satisfactory standards.

He said 15.5 per cent of samples showed the presence of coliform bacteria, indicating poor hygiene such as people not washing their hands after going to the toilet.