High-pressure processing of Gorgonzola cheese: influence on Listeria monocytogenes inactivation and on sensory characteristics

J Food Prot. 2004 Aug;67(8):1671-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-67.8.1671.


The presence of Listeria monocytogenes on the rind of Gorgonzola cheese is difficult to avoid. This contamination can easily occur as a consequence of handling during ripening. The aims of this study were to determine the efficiency of high-pressure processing (HPP) for inactivation of L. monocytogenes on cheese rind and to evaluate the influence of HPP treatments on sensory characteristics. Gorgonzola cheese rinds, after removal, were inoculated (about 7.0 log CFU/g) with L. monocytogenes strains previously isolated from other Gorgonzola cheeses. The inoculated cheese rinds were processed with an HPP apparatus under conditions of pressure and time ranging from 400 to 700 MPa for 1 to 15 min. Pressures higher than 600 MPa for 10 min or 700 MPa for 5 min reduced L. monocytogenes more than 99%. A reduction higher than 99.999% was achieved pressurizing cheese rinds at 700 MPa for 15 min. Lower pressure or time treatments were less effective and varied in effectiveness with the cheese sample. Changes in sensory properties possibly induced by the HPP were evaluated on four different Gorgonzola cheeses. A panel of 18 members judged the treated and untreated cheeses in a triangle test. Only one of the four pressurized cheeses was evaluated as different from the untreated sample. HPP was effective in the reduction of L. monocytogenes on Gorgonzola cheese rinds without significantly changing its sensory properties. High-pressure technology is a useful tool to improve the safety of this type of cheese.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cheese / microbiology*
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / growth & development*
  • Pressure*
  • Taste
  • Time Factors