Contamination of red meat with foodborne pathogens is associated with symptom‐less carriage of the organisms in the live animal. In the United Kingdom, meat is an acknowledged source of human food poisoning from Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens, and other pathogens that are sometimes present may also be important in this respect. Within the EU, much attention has been given to improving the design and structure of abattoirs, although, in themselves, such changes do not ensure low levels of microbial contamination. However, it has been suggested that, with due care in slaughtering and meat handling, microbial counts from carcasses can be reduced from around 103‐104 to 102‐103/cm2 and that contamination with any foodborne pathogens can also be reduced. Discusses those stages in meat handling which have the greatest effect on carcass contamination and the importance of using a system of quality assurance that incorporates the hazard analysis critical control point concept (HACCP). As an adjunct to good abattoir hygiene, possible processes for decontamination of finished carcasses, especially with hot water or lactic acid, are considered.
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