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It is generally assumed that preventing visible contamination of or removing visible contamination from carcasses will enhance the microbiological safety of meat. Visible contamination of carcasses can
be reduced by washing or otherwise cleaning animals before slaughter, by dehairing hides before carcasses are skinned or dressed with the skin on, or by performing skinning and eviscerating operations in
manners that avoid the transfer of filth from the hide to the meat or the spillage of gut contents. Visible contamination can be removed by washing, trimming, or vacuuming carcasses. The available data
appear to indicate that, of the various actions that can be taken to obtain carcasses that are free of visible contamination, only minimizing the visible contamination of meat during skinning and eviscerating
operations may also ensure a degree of control over the microbiological contamination of meat. It might be preferable for visible contamination to be controlled largely by superior skinning and eviscerating
practices rather than by animal or carcass cleaning treatments, which may not prevent the depositing of bacteria on or the removal of substantial numbers of bacteria from carcasses.
Document Type: Review Article
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada T4L 1W1
Publication date: February 1, 2004
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