* In this study, samples of raw ground beef (n = 150) and fresh sausage (n = 100) were collected randomly from butcheries, supermarkets, and fast-food shops, in Casablanca, Morocco.
* Two types of meat product samples were considered, one with spices (n = 115) and other without spices (n = 135).
* All the samples were analyzed for the presence of the following bacteria:
-- Escherichia coli,
-- Clostridium perfringens,
-- Salmonella, and
-- Listeria monocytogenes.
* E. coli strains were further typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), Operon O, and characterized for virulence genes by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
* Foodstuffs such as ground meat and fresh sausages are a significant portion of the diet of a large active population in Morocco.
* These products are highly perishable, with a pH value not lower than 5.5 and water activity ([a.sub.w]) equal to or higher than 0.97.
* Since no fermentation process takes place during storage at 4[degrees]C, the hygienic quality of the raw materials is the main factor affecting the final value of the product.
* In this paper, the authors describe the hygienic quality of ground beef and fresh sausages produced in Casablanca, with the following objectives:
-- (i) to determine the prevalence and levels of pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria present in these products,
-- (ii) to analyze the effect of spices and herbs;
-- seasonality; and
-- location distribution on the prevalence of such microorganisms, and
-- (iii) to screen pathogenic strains of E. coli by molecular microbiology methods.
* From all samples tested, S. aureus was isolated in 25 (16.7%) samples of ground meat and 18 (18%) in fresh sausages.
* Just two strains of all strains isolated (5%) were ADNase (antideoxyribonuclease) positive.
* From all samples tested, C. perfringens was isolated in 47 samples (18.8%), 29 in ground meat (19.3%), and 18 in fresh sausages (18%).
* The majority of these positive samples were associated with added spices in ground beef (26.8%), as opposed to the 12.7% for ground meat without spices.
* For fresh sausage samples, the occurrence of C. perfringens was in 32.1% of samples with spices and in only 2.3% of samples without spices.
* The statistical analysis of the data obtained revealed that the effect of the hot season and the addition of spices were significant (p
--fecal coliforms, and
--E.coli in the two types of raw meat products, whereas no sampling location...