AbstractSamples of selected frozen Puerto Rican foods were purchased at the retail level and analyzed microbiologically. There was variation in the microbiological quality of these foods, particularly among brands within a given product. Some samples had high coliform and fecal coliform counts, although no coagulase positive staphylococci or Salmonella was found in any sample tested. Some of these foods were cooked according to processor's instructions and then held warm for up to 4 hr at 38° C to reproduce conditions prevailing in routine practice in some cafeterias and fast food establishments. Results demonstrated that total bacterial counts were greatly diminished and in most cases completely eliminated, and that coliforms and fecal coliforms were completely destroyed in all cases by the cooking process. Holding foods warm for 4 hr after cooking did not increase the microbial content of any of the samples. Provided post cooking contamination is avoided, holding these cooked foods at warm temperatures does not affect their microbiological quality.
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