Abid Sarwar

Microbial Evaluation Of Raw Meat At Abattoirs And Retail Outlests (Lahore) - 2010

The objective of this study was to evaluate the microbial quality of meat. The present study was planed to determine the aerobic plate count on meat obtained from the abattoirs and local market. A total of 90 meat samples that were collected for determining the microbiological quality of meat. Half of the meat samples (n=45) were collected from various abattoirs and half of the meat samples (n=45) were collected from retail outlets in Lahore City to get an idea of contamination from slaughtering point to retail outlets.

These samples were processed for Aerobic plate counts, E.coli, S.aureus and Salmonella counts. Overall, this study revealed that the level of contamination on meat carcasses was higher in retail meat shops compared to the abattoir. However, the microbial contamination in the abattoir were high if we compare these results to the reports from developing countries like India, Iran and Bangladesh.

Bacterial isolates identified and counted from this study were Staphylococcus aureus (44) out of 90 samples was the most abundant as 48.88%, followed by E. coli (43) 47.77% and Salmonella (26) 28.88%.

Statistical analysis revealed that analysis of variance between various abattoir and the retail meat shops for E.coli, Salmonella and S.aureus showed significant differences with some exceptions. E.coli counts were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the meat shops and abattoirs. For E.coli most of the data were significant at 5% level (P < 0.05) with some exception in case of beef and goat samples taken from abattoirs which were non significant because of the unhygienic environments. Analysis of variance for Salmonella between various abattoir and the retail outlets were significant at 5% level (P < 0.05). For S.aureus between various abattoir and the retail outlets showed non significant at 5% level (P > 0.05) with some exceptions in case of beef abattoir and goat retail outlet samples taken which were significant at 5% level (P < 0.05).

The higher incidence of microbial load in fresh meat obtained in this study might be attributed to unhygienic and improper handling of animals during slaughter, dressing, evisceration, transportation and unhygienic environments at the retail shops. The usual practice of washing the carcass with the same water in which intestines and offal had been washed was considered as one of the predominant reasons for increased microbial counts of the carcasses. A complete ignorance on the part of the meat handlers/ butchers in hygienic handling of carcasses during slaughter and retailing processes might be the main factors for producing meat with high microbial load.

Levels of microbial contamination in Pakistani abattoirs and traditional retail meat shops reflect the hygiene status of meat production in the developing world. Education of the meat retailers' community which runs the traditional meat shops, in terms of the importance of hygienic and sanitary precautions would go a long way towards providing wholesome and safe meat to the consumers.

Department of Microbiology


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