Potential for the spread of Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, and Campylobacter in the lairage environment at abattoirs
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Prevalences of Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella spp., and Campylobacter spp. were examined in 270 swabs taken from selected sites along the unloading-to-slaughter routes of animal movement in lairages of six commercial abattoirs, three for cattle and three for sheep. The overall prevalences of the pathogens in the respective lairage environments were compared with those for 270 swabs from the pelts of 90 lambs examined in the present study and 270 swabs from the hides of 90 cattle examined in a previous study that were slaughtered at the same abattoirs on the same days. Also, the results obtained were analyzed with the aim of identifying critical points at which animal-environment-animal transfer of the pathogens in lairages occurs. The results showed that (i) the overall prevalences of E. coli O157, Salmonella spp., and Campylobacter spp. were 27.2, 6.1, and 1.1%, respectively, in cattle lairages and 2.2, 1.1, and 5.6%, respectively, in sheep lairages; (ii) the overall prevalences of... the three pathogens on cow hides (28.8, 17.7, and 0%, respectively) and sheep pelts (5.5, 7.8, and 0%, respectively) were higher than the overall prevalences in the respective lairage environments; (iii) the most frequently contaminated sites in cattle lairages were holding pen floors (50% of swabs positive for one or more pathogens), entrance gates of stun boxes (27.8% of swabs positive for one or more pathogens), and stun box floors (22.2% of swabs positive for one or more pathogens); (iv) the most frequently contaminated sites in sheep lairages were unloading ramp floors, holding pen floors, and water troughs (33.3, 22.2, and 22.2%, respectively); and (v) overall, cattle lairages and cow hides were more frequently contaminated with the pathogens than were lamb lairages and lamb pelts. Further research is needed to develop strategies for the incorporation of pathogen control in lairages into integrated microbial meat safety systems.
Source:Journal of Food Protection, 2002, 65, 6, 931-936
- Int Assoc Food Protection, Des Moines