TABLE 1

Description of dairy and environmental samples analyzed in this studya

SampleSampling methodbDescription
Brine CaciocavalloiLiquid brine used for salting of Caciocavallo cheese
Caciocavallo after moldingiiCaciocavallo cheese obtained after stretching and molding steps
Caciocavallo t0iiCaciocavallo cheese obtained after stretching, molding, and brining; ready to start the maturation process
Caciocavallo t30iiCaciocavallo cheese after 30 days of ripening
ChopperiiiSteel machine used for curd shredding
Chopper 2iiiSee above
Curd benchiiiSteel table where the curd is left to drain
GrancacioiiPasta-filata cheese with production technology similar to Caciocavallo but characterized by a larger size
HandvHand of the stretching operator
Hook t0viTool used to hang the Caciocavallo by a rope during ripening, sampled at the start of the maturation step
Hook t30viHook sampled after 30 days of cheese ripening
Knife curdviiKnife used to cut the curd for the draining
Mold GrancacioivMold used for molding of Grancacio
Mold mozzarellaivMold used for molding of mozzarella
Mold ricottaivMold used for molding of ricotta
MolderiiiSteel machine used to mold the stretched curd for the production of mozzarella and Caciocavallo
Molder 2iiiSee above
MozzarellaiiMozzarella cheese
RicottaiiFresh, soft cheese that does not undergo fermentation or ripening
RopeiiUsed to tie Caciocavallo cheese molds at the neck in order to hang it for ripening
ScamorzaiiPasta-filata cheese with a semisoft texture and a typical pear shape
StretcheriiiSteel machine used to stretch the shredded curd
Stretcher 2iiiSee above
Tank curdiiiVat where milk is heated and rennet is added to obtain the curd
Tank ricottaiiiVat where whey is heated to be curdled to obtain ricotta cheese
Tank ScamorzaiiiTank containing the brine for Scamorza cheese salting
VatiiiVat containing the milk to be curdled
  • a The environmental samples were collected at least 1 h after ordinary cleaning procedures. Ordinary cleaning was performed within 1 h after cheese making. This process consisted of cleaning the floor surfaces and equipment with detergent and water (40°C), repeated rinsing with hot (40°C) and cold (20°C) water, and the use of disinfectants and rinsing with cold water. An additional weekly cleaning was applied to refrigeration and ripening rooms, staff rooms, and hallways.

  • b Sampling was performed using one of the following methods: (i) 50-ml portions of liquid brine were sampled by sterile vessels; (ii) representative longitudinal sections were sampled; (iii) the steel surface was sampled by rubbing it with a sterile cotton-tipped swab vertically, horizontally, and diagonally across the sampling site (100 cm2) delineated by a template; (iv) mold was sampled by rubbing it with a sterile cotton-tipped swab vertically, horizontally, and diagonally across the sampling site (25 cm2); (v) the operator's palm was sampled by rubbing it with a sterile cotton-tipped swab vertically, horizontally, and diagonally; (vi) the hook was sampled by rubbing it with a sterile cotton-tipped swab across all surfaces; (vi) both blades were sampled by rubbing them with a sterile cotton-tipped swab across all surfaces; or (vii) a rope 25 cm in length (the standard length used to tie the Caciocavallo) was taken.