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A Study of the Prevalence and Enumeration of Salmonella enterica in Cattle and on Carcasses during Processing

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Salmonella prevalence and counts were estimated for samples from the oral cavity, hide, rumen, and feces of 100 cattle at slaughter and from the pre- and postchill carcasses of these cattle. Samples were collected from 25 consecutively slaughtered cattle from each of four unrelated groups slaughtered at a single abattoir on different days. Ten additional fecal samples from each group were collected from their respective abattoir holding pens prior to slaughter. The prevalence of Salmonella was estimated using automated immunomagnetic separation, and the counts were estimated using a combination of most probable number (MPN) and automated immunomagnetic separation. A total of 606 samples were collected with Salmonella isolated from 157 (26%), including 29% of oral cavities, 68% of hides, 16% of feces collected after evisceration, 25% of rumen samples, 2% of prechill carcasses, 3% of postchill carcasses, and 48% of feces collected from holding pens. The prevalence and count of Salmonella varied between the different groups of animals tested. The highest count obtained was from a rumen sample (1.1 × 104 MPN/g). Other counts were generally low, with a maximum count in feces collected after evisceration and in the abattoir holding pens of 93 and 23 MPN/g, respectively. The highest count on hides, in oral cavities, and on carcasses was 4.8 MPN/cm2, 23 MPN/g, and 0.31 MPN/cm2, respectively. Even though Salmonella was present on the hides and in the rumen and feces of at least one animal from each group of cattle, the processing of animals at this abattoir resulted in few contaminated carcasses, and when contamination occurred, Salmonella was detected at low numbers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Science Australia, Brisbane Laboratory, Cnr Wynnum and Creek Roads, Cannon Hill, Queensland 4170, Australia

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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