Effects of Poor Post-slaughter Handling Practices on Microbiological Quality of Fresh Beef from Slaughterhouses in Kenya

Oliver Chanzu, Catherine N. Kunyanga, Jasper K. Imungi


Compliance to appropriate post-slaughter practices during meat processing is crucial for production of safe meat and meat products. Meat quality is highly influenced by the prevailing hygiene conditions during production and processing. Poor hygienic conditions can lead to meat contamination and spoilage by pathogenic bacteria hence food borne illnesses and subsequently meat losses. This study evaluated the effects of poor handling practices on the safety and quality of fresh beef from slaughterhouses mainly in pastoral regions in Kenya. About 95 meat and surface swab samples were collected and analysed for total viable counts, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The mean Staphylococcus aureus from the rump, neck, stomach and hind legs were 5.436, 6.153, 4.868 and 4.977 log CFUg-1 respectively while that for Listeria monocytogenes was 2.259, 2.301, 2.301 and 2.392 log CFUg-1 from rump, neck stomach and hind legs respectively. The highest mean of Escherichia coli counts (3.521 log CFUg-1) was observed from the stomach. The mean TVC counts (6.339 log CFUg-1) were observed at the neck region.  The mean S. aureus, E.coli and TVC were 6.058, 4.504 and 4.491 log CFU/cm2 from the weighing scale while mean S.aureus, E. coli and TVC from steel file were 6.161, 3.482 and 3.733 log CFU/cm2 respectively. The means for S.aureus, E.coli and TVC from wedging knife were 5.926, 3.578 and 4.627 log CFU/cm2 respectively.  The means for S. aureus, E. coli and TVC were 6.141, 3.716 and 4.627 log CFU/cm2 respectively from dust coats whereas those for S. aureus, E. coli and TVC were 6.264, 4.637 and 3.733 log CFU/cm2 respectively from gumboots. The head cover also had its significant level of contamination with S. aureus, E. coli and TVC at 6.161, 3.690 and 4.491 log CFUg-1 respectively. Means for S. aureus and E. coli from clothing, equipment and fresh meat were significantly different (p<0.05).  The level of meat contamination was high and this was attributed to poor handling practices and hygiene conditions. This then necessitates the need for training and capacity building of slaughterhouses and personnel on the need for proper hygiene and good handling practices.

Keywords: Post-slaughter Practices; Microbiological Quality; Fresh Beef; Hygiene Practices

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ISSN (Paper)2224-6088 ISSN (Online)2225-0557

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