White soft cheese is widely consumed by the Egyptian population and could be contaminated during manufacturing, handling and distribution. So, to assess safety and detect the public health hazards of traditional white soft cheese, one hundred samples represented as (40 Kareish cheese, 30 Damietta cheese and 30 Feta cheese) were collected randomly from supermarkets, and street-vendors at Alexandria Governorate. The results revealed that the incidence of Coliforms group were 75 and 20 % in the examined Kareish and Damietta cheeses, respectively with respective logarithmic (log) mean values were 5.49 ± 0.62 and 4.10 ± 0.15 cfu/g, on the other hand coliforms failed to be detected in Feta cheese samples. The incidence of Staphylococcus aureus were 55, 83.33 and 26.66% in Kareish, Damietta and Feta cheeses samples, respectively, with a log mean values 4.42 ± 0.89; 4.94 ± 0.61 and 2.70 ± 0.62 cfu/g. Staphylococcal enterotoxin A could be detected qualitatively by using ELISA in the examined Kareish and Damietta cheeses and Enterotoxin C could be detected only in Damietta cheese while, Enterotoxin D could be detected only in Feta cheese. Salmonella was failed to be detected in all examined samples. While, the incidence of mould were 35 , 46.67 and 10 % in Kareish, Damietta and Feta cheeses samples, respectively with the log mean values 4.49 ± 0.31, 4.26 ± 0.26 and 1.20 ±0.17cfu/g, respectively. The Aflatoxin M1 was detected in 40 and 53.33% of Kareish and Damietta cheeses samples, respectively. While, the Aflatoxin M2 was detected only in 20% 0f examined Kareish samples but failed to be detected in Damietta cheese samples. Neither M1 nor M2 were detected in Feta cheese. In conclusion, it was observed that the hygienic quality of white cheeses sold in dairy shops in Alexandria was low and does not have enough assurance in terms of public health. These results emphasize the need for applying more strict hygienic practices, efficient heat treatment, and applying HACCP system.
white soft cheese, Coliforms, Staphylococcal enterotoxins, Aflatoxin M1 and M2