The microbiological quality of 30 production lots of charcoal-broiled river lampreys was studied at three lamprey processing plants (plants A, B, and C). Samples were taken directly after charcoal broiling and stored at 22 and 3°C. Lampreys were examined on the day of manufacture, and those kept at 22°C were examined every second day for 6 days. Samples kept at 3°C were examined every fourth day for up to 24 days. On the production day, the mean aerobic plate counts (APCs) for broiled lampreys from plants A, B, and C were 2.29 log CFU/g, 1.88 log CFU/g, and undetectable (1.67 log CFU/g), respectively. At 22°C, the mean APCs for samples from plants A, B, and C increased markedly within 4 days, and after 6 days the counts for samples from these plants were 8.56, 5.04, and 6.23 log CFU/g, respectively. Chilling and storage at 3°C remarkably improved the shelf life of the product. The levels of bacteria in charcoal-broiled river lampreys from plant A were higher than those in lampreys from plants B and C. No significant increases in APCs were observed during storage at 3°C for 24 days; mean APCs did not exceed 2.80 log CFU/g for samples from any plant. Staphylococcus aureus was found in two samples. No lactic acid bacteria, thermotolerant coliforms, enterococci, Clostridium perfringens, or Listeria monocytogenes was detected. Microbiological data from this study will be used for the development of a hazard analysis for the determination of critical control points.

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