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Microbial Contamination of Carcasses and Equipment from an Iberian Pig Slaughterhouse

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The microbial contamination of carcasses and equipment has been studied in an industrial slaughterhouse of Iberian pigs. Samples of the surface of carcasses were taken at different stages of the process and aerobic plate count at 37°C (APC), Enterobacteriaceae-count (E-count) and Escherichia coli-count (EC-count) were determined. It was demonstrated that in scalding and singeing the APC decreased (P < 0.01), while in the dehairing it increased (P < 0.01). The E-count and EC-count decreased in the scalding but increased in the evisceration (P < 0.001). The implementation of good manufacturing practices (GMP) in the stages of closure of the anus and evisceration significantly decreased the EC-count. It changed from 61.1% in carcasses without GMP that had counts higher than 1 log CFU/cm2 to only 7.4% in GMP carcasses. A final wash of the carcasses with potable water at high pressure (the only decontaminating treatment permitted in the European Union) was tested and failed to decrease the counts. It was also demonstrated that cleaning and disinfection of the dehairing and scraping machines is not effective.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, Edificio Departamental, Campus M. de Unamuno, Universidad de Salamanca, 37007, Salamanca, Spain

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