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Salt content and microbiota of meat preparations in small and large commercial establishments.
1 , 1 , 2, 3, 4 , 1, 5 , 5, 6 , * 7
2  Universidade of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
3  CIAFEL—Research Center for Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal
4  CITAB—Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences. University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
5  CECAV—Center for Studies in Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
6  Associate Laboratory for Animal and Veterinary Sciences (AL4AnimalS), Portugal
7  Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
Academic Editor: Theodoros Varzakas (registering DOI)

The present work aims to evaluate the salt content and spoilage microorganisms of meat preparations obtained in small and large commercial areas of the city of Vila Real, Portugal
Fifty-one samples of meat preparations were collected from hypermarkets and small local traditional trade establishments and analysed. Samples were evaluated for pH value, salt content and microbiological examination. Mesophilic microorganisms, Enterobacteriaceae, Lactic Acid Bacteria, Pseudomonas spp., Moulds and Yeasts were quantified, according to ISO standards. About half of the meat samples provided from hypermarkets and the other half from small local businesses.
Hamburgers and meatballs were the products with the highest amount of salt, with no significant differences compared to the other types of products.
Portuguese legislation (Decree-Law No 147/2006) defines a salt limit of 1% for minced meat. This value was used as a term of comparison and reference for the salt concentration in the samples in this work.
Twenty per cent of the samples had a salt content higher than 1%. All these samples were from small local shops.
All products showed higher levels of microbiological contamination in small local establishments compared to hypermarkets.
It is important to implement the necessary measures in the quality control of products from small local businesses, namely through the obligation to carry out training actions for improving hygiene and safety habits in the production, transport, storage and exposition of this type of product.

Keywords: Salt content, meat preparations, microbiota, shelf-life, meat safety