Introduction: In recent years, there has been a great interest in biogenic amines such histamine, as they are associated with the quality and safety of some kinds of fermented foods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of temperature and storage time on the content of histamine in cheeses.
Material and Methods: Samples of mould and hard cheeses were examined with RP-HPLC with an organic-aqueous mobile phase containing acidic buffer and chaotropic salt. The samples were stored either at 22 ± 2°C for 42 days (mould and hard cheeses) or at 4 ± 2°C for 112 days (mould cheeses) and 133 days (hard cheeses).
Results: The mean total histamine content in cheeses stored at 22°C was higher than the content in those stored at 4°C, with the highest concentrations found in Gorgonzola Piccante cheese (730.47 mg/kg). Histamine concentration in some types of cheeses exceeded the toxic threshold dose, indicating that after long or inadequately cool storage they may not be safe for consumers.
Conclusion: To protect cheeses from contamination with histamine-producing bacteria and to safeguard consumers from poisoning, factors conducive to this amine’s formation should be minimised during cheese processing. Suitable temperature and time during storage of cheeses are recommended to avoid the intoxication. Monitoring of this toxin in food is necessary to ensure safety of consumers.