With the arrival of summer, the consumption of ice creams grows considerably, even if some recent market surveys have recorded that the consumption of these delicious cones is increasing even in the non-summer months characterized by the cold. One wonders, however, if while savoring our favorite flavors have we ever stopped to ask ourselves about the quality of that ice cream itself and the possible microbiological risks which are related to its production.
Il ice cream is a delicious dessert made with eggs, cream, chocolate or fruit juices brought to a temperature of freezing in order to be able to create a pasta consistent and homogeneous. With regard to its quality, EU regulation 852/2004 establishes that all food business operators are required to comply with the letter, the specific microbiological criteria and in light of this, the quality control provides for a sampling plan to ensure that all products comply with the set values and, if necessary, to proceed with corrective measures.
But what are the bacteria subject of monitoring? Listeria monocytogenes: it is a Gram positive, asporigenous, facultative and mobile aerobic-anaerobic bacterium which owes its name to the pattern of blood monocytosis typical of the infection (listeriosis).
Listeriosis is often very serious, with high hospitalization rates and above all mortality: in Europe over 1000 human cases were reported in 2011 alone, with a mortality rate exceeding 10%.
This bacterium is found in soil, plants and waters, but animals such as cattle, sheep and goats can also be direct carriers. In 2010, a real outbreak of was recorded in the United States of America listeriosis due to the consumption of packaged ice cream strongly contaminated. Clearly, the consumption of contaminated food represents the main mode of transmission for humans and animals, also considering that this bacterium tolerates very well even low temperatures (ie those between 2 and 4 ° C).
Therefore, the results of the tests relating to the quality of artisanal ice cream must first highlight, in order to protect the health of each consumer, a bacterial load of less than 100 cfu / g throughout its shelf life. Attention, other dangerous substance is ethylene oxide which occurs in a gaseous form and which is mainly used as disinfettate e pest control.
This substance can be harmful to our health as it is possible that contamination can occur in food, especially because it is used inside the silos and warehouses where, in fact, the foods.