Microbiological quality of laver, one of the edible seaweeds, has not been reported in a real processing line. Laver or supplements were collected from six manufacturers (A to F) to assess potential microbiological hazards and the critical control points in commercial processing lines. Aerobic plate counts (APC), coliform counts, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus were enumerated, and the presence of B. cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, S. aureus, and V. parahaemolyticus were confirmed during processing. The raw material, i.e., dried laver, had a high initial APC level (4.4 to 7.8 log CFU/g), which decreased gradually during processing (final products, 1.3 to 5.9 log CFU/g). Coliforms and B. cereus were not detected in any of the final products, but they were present in some raw materials and semiprocessed products in quantitative analysis. After enrichment for recovery of stress-injured cells, E. coli and foodborne pathogens were not detected in any samples, with the exception of B. cereus. Heat-injured and spore-forming B. cereus isolates were occasionally obtained from some of the raw materials and products after enrichment, thus B. cereus may be a potential microbiological hazard that should be controlled using strategic intervention measures. Secondary roasting (260 to 400°C, 2 to 10 s) significantly reduced the APC (maximum log reduction, 4.7 log CFU/g), and this could be a key intervention step for controlling microbiological hazards during processing (critical control point). When this step was performed appropriately, according to the processing guide for each plant, the microorganisms were inactivated more successfully in the products. This study provides scientific evidence that may facilitate the development of strategies for microbiological hazard control and hygienic management guidelines for real manufacturing plants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science