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Aerobiology of a High-Line Speed Cattle Abattoir

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The operation of the high-line speed cattle abattoir studied follows a plant-created hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plan that is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Measurement of bioaerosols is not a part of this plan. In this study CFUs in air of selected abattoir processes were enumerated after impinging air onto tryptic soy agar plates with a slit air sampler for 10 to 20 min. The total viable count (TVC) per liter of air was calculated for each sample following incubation at 30°C for 24 h. Monthly samples were collected on the hide removal floor and the carcass dressing floor from March 1998 to April 1999. Mud tag, dirt, and wetness of incoming hides were scored subjectively on the hide removal floor. The other processes were sampled in 3 separate months. The TVC at two locations on the hide removal floor (center of hide removal floor [CHF] and top of hide puller [THP]) had a strong association to each other (r = 0.84; P < 0.001). The mean TVC at the CHF and THP was 10.0 and 11.5, respectively, and the TVC for individual samples ranged from 2 to 42 at these locations. The TVC means for all the other processes ranged from 0.01 to 0.7. Tag and TVC on the hide removal floor had a different seasonal distribution with TVC being highest in the warm months (April to October 1998) and lowest for November to April 1999. No significant relations between TVC and the dirt and wetness variables were evident for the CHF and THP locations on the hide removal floor. It was concluded that the control of aerosols in the hide removal floor should be treated as a critical control point in the HACCP plan.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Health Canada, Population and Public Health Branch, Animal Diseases Research Institute, P.O. Box 640, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 3Z4 2: Defence Research Establishment Suffield, P.O. Box 4000, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada T1A 8K6 3: Sigma Consulting and Tutorial Services, 1712 Lakeside Road, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3G8

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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