Journal : International journal of food microbiology , vol. 214 , p. 70–76 , 2015
Publisher : Elsevier
International Standard Numbers
Printed : 0168-1605
Electronic : 1879-3460
Publication type : Academic article
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This study investigated the bacterial dynamics along the beef chain for clean and dirty cattle in the slaughter and processing lines, using classic quantitative methods and molecular analyses. In addition, the Norwegian national guidelines for Good Hygiene Practices inNorwaywere evaluated. In these guidelines, cattle presented for slaughter are categorised according to hide cleanliness, resulting in separate processing lines for meat from very dirty animals and reduced prices to farmers. The study was conducted in two commercial abattoirs in Norway. Two groups were compared; 40 visually clean cattle and 40 visually dirty cattle presented for slaughter, with 20 from each group at each abattoir. The same animals were sampled at five sampling sites: hides, carcass surfaces after dehiding, just before chilling, after chilling, and meat trimmings.Meat trimmings were sampled in only one abattoir. Three hundred and sixty sampleswere collected by swabbing 100 cm2 of the brisket area at the first four sampling sites, and sampling 200 g of meat trimmings at the fifth site. The results showed that the hides of dirty cattle had more Enterobacteriaceae and higher Aerobic Plate Counts (APC) than visually clean cattle (P b 0.05), however there was no significant difference for Escherichia coli. For the other sampling sites, there were no differences between the dirty and the clean group. An effect of chilling/drying of the carcass surfaces was demonstrated by the significant reduction in the number of carcasses on which E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae were detected; from 11% and 39% before chilling to 1% and 16% after chilling, respectively. Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli were detected in only three and one of the meat trimming samples, respectively. Amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from 643 Enterobacteriaceae colonies derived from 107 samples demonstrated that Escherichia/Shigella were dominant within this family on the hides. However, after dehiding, after grading, and after chilling, the genera Citrobacter and Enterobacter dominated. The meat trimmings were dominated by the genera Kluyvera, Hafnia, and unclassified Enterobacteriaceae. The relative proportions of Escherichia/Shigella were higher for dirty animals than for clean animals, and were higher on hides than from sampling sites further down the chain (P b 0.05). The minor differences in contamination on carcass surfaces and meat trimmings between clean and dirty cattle indicate that separate processing lines in Norwegian abattoirs seem to be unnecessary.