Effect of chitosan coating on contamination of fresh bovine meat sold in the open market
ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate the sanitary status of fresh bovine meat sold at the open market in Jiquiriça municipality, Brazil and validate the use of chitosan as an antimicrobial coating to control the bioburden. In total, we evaluated 30 samples of fresh beef for the presence of coagulase-positive staphylococci and Salmonella spp. Furthermore, stores selling fresh meat products were evaluated for compliance with sanitary regulations set by the Ministry of Health in Brazil. To evaluate the antimicrobial activity of chitosan two sets of meat samples were tested, the test group consisted of contaminated meat coated with 2% chitosan solution whereas the control group consisted of untreated contaminated meat. It was found that fresh bovine meat at market stores is exposed to a number of contaminants, including several pathogens. All of the tested samples contained coagulase-positive staphylococci (3.8-6.1 log CFU g-1) and Salmonella spp. were detected in 30% of all samples. When assessing the sanitary conditions of the meat stores, non-compliance was highest in the marketing and display category (79%), followed by the hygiene of manipulators (73%) and the facilities, equipment and utensils categories (54%). Meat treated treated with 2% chitosan solution showed significant lower (p<0.01) microbial load of Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus than the control samples. These findings suggest that applying a 2% chitosan coating on fresh meat is a feasible method for controlling pathogenic microbial load.