Prevalent organisms on ostrich carcasses found in a commercial abattoir

Hoffman L.C. ; Britz T.J. ; Schnetler D.C. (2010)


The prevalent microbial growth on carcasses before and after overnight cooling in an ostrich abattoir and de-boning plant was investigated. The effect of warm or cold trimming of the carcasses was examined together with possible causes of contamination along the processing line. An attempt was made to link the prevalent microorganisms that were identified from carcasses to those from specific external contamination sources. Samples of carcasses and possible contaminants were collected in the plant, plated out and selected organisms were typed using a commercial rapid identification system. It was indicated that the cold trim (mainly of bruises) of carcasses was advantageous in terms of microbiological meat quality. Results indicated pooled water in the abattoir as the most hazardous vector for carcass contamination and that contaminants from this source are mostly Gram-negative pathogens. Pseudomonas and Shigella were frequently isolated from surface and air samples and indicated that the control of total plant hygiene is a requirement for producing ostrich meat that is safe to consume and has an acceptable shelf-life.

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