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Significance of Coliforms and Enterococci in Fish Products

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Coliforms, more recently fecal coliforms, and enterococci are often used to assess the hygienic quality of foods. Although these bacteria serve rather successfully as an index of fecal pollution of water supplies, their usefulness in measuring fecal pollution in foods is less than satisfactory. The ratio and correlation of coliforms and enterococci in fish-fillet and lobster-meat samples led us to conclude that these organisms originated from improperly sanitized working surfaces, where they survive and multiply, and not from fecal pollution. Therefore, the presence of coliforms and enterococci in fish fillets and lobster meat reflects the quality of fish-plant sanitation and not the direct fecal pollution of these products.

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