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Performance of Food Safety Management Systems in Poultry Meat Preparation Processing Plants in Relation to Campylobacter spp. Contamination

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Abstract:

A diagnostic instrument comprising a combined assessment of core control and assurance activities and a microbial assessment instrument were used to measure the performance of current food safety management systems (FSMSs) of two poultry meat preparation companies. The high risk status of the company's contextual factors, i.e., starting from raw materials (poultry carcasses) with possible high numbers and prevalence of pathogens such as Campylobacter spp., requires advanced core control and assurance activities in the FSMS to guarantee food safety. The level of the core FSMS activities differed between the companies, and this difference was reflected in overall microbial quality (mesophilic aerobic count), presence of hygiene indicators (Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli), and contamination with pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. The food safety output expressed as a microbial safety profile was related to the variability in the prevalence and contamination levels of Campylobacter spp. in poultry meat preparations found in a Belgian nationwide study. Although a poultry meat processing company could have an advanced FSMS in place and a good microbial profile (i.e., lower prevalence of pathogens, lower microbial numbers, and less variability in microbial contamination), these positive factors might not guarantee pathogen-free products. Contamination could be attributed to the inability to apply effective interventions to reduce or eliminate pathogens in the production chain of (raw) poultry meat preparations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium; Research Group EnBiChem, Department of Industrial Engineering and Technology, University College West-Flanders (Howest), Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5, B-8500 Kortrijk, Belgium 2: Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium 3: Product Design and Quality Management Group, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, NL-6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands 4: Management Studies Group, Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, NL-6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands 5: Research Group EnBiChem, Department of Industrial Engineering and Technology, University College West-Flanders (Howest), Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5, B-8500 Kortrijk, Belgium

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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