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Effects of slaughtering operations on carcass contamination in an Irish pork production plant.

Wheatley, Paul and Giotis, Efstathios S and McKevitt, Aideen I (2014) 'Effects of slaughtering operations on carcass contamination in an Irish pork production plant.' Irish Veterinary Journal, 67. ISSN 2046-0481

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Microbiological standards within pork slaughter processing plants in the European Union are currently governed by Commission Regulation (EC) 2073/2005, which describes detailed performance criteria at specific stages of the procedure (following carcass dressing and before chilling) for total viable counts (TVC), Enterobacteriaceae (EB) and Salmonella spp. In this study, 95 carcasses from an Irish pork slaughter plant were sampled by swabbing 100 cm2 of surface at three sites (belly, ham, jowl) to examine the effects of eight processing stages (stunning, bleeding, scalding, singeing, polishing, evisceration, final inspection and chilling) on contamination levels. RESULTS: TVC ranged from approximately 1.7-6.3 log cfu cm2 during sampling. There were significant reductions in TVC for all sites after scalding and singeing (p < 0.05), whilst there was a significant increase in counts after polishing and evisceration (p < 0.05) compared with preceding stages. EB counts indicated hygienic weak points in the examined slaughter plant leading to faecal (cross)-contamination, with elevated counts after stunning, bleeding and evisceration (p < 0.05), compared with final counts after chilling. CONCLUSIONS: Although the bacterial numbers reported in this study may reflect specific plant practices and temporal influences, results show that contamination can be introduced at various steps in the process and highlight the importance of monitoring locations other than those required by legislation within the process. Monitoring can be used to establish baseline levels for high-risk stages specific to each plant and to assess the effectiveness of additional interventions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2020 08:40
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2020 09:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27811

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