Evaluation of Bacterial Contamination of Beef Carcasses in Namwala and Lusaka Districts, Zambia
Muma, John B.
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Abattoirs have been purported to be ideal areas were possible microbial contamination of meat products is likely to occur. A total of 314 food of animal origin, mainly, beef, has been identified as a source of dietary protein for humans albeit it being a source of food-borne diseases including zoonoses. This study was carried out to evaluate bacterial contamination and the risk factors associated with contamination of beef carcasses during processing. Methods: A total of four abattoirs were sampled within three months with one in Namwala and three in Lusaka districts. 314 beef carcass surface swabs were obtained from the neck region by swabbing the carcasses, immediately after evisceration and after washing. Results: The results of mean total viable counts (TVC) of carcass contamination were enumerated as the mean log from 4.7 Log10 cfu/cm2 in an abattoir where Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) practiced to 5.8 Log10 cfu/cm2 in abattoirs without HACCP. Bivariate analysis showed a significant difference in carcass contamination when town abattoirs (Lusaka) were compared with rural ones (Namwala); χ2 = 43.87, P < 0.0001. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified poor hygiene practices, the absence of antemortem inspection, and lack of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) implementation as significant factors associated with carcass contamination. Conclusion: The microbial load of the fresh beef carcasses in Namwala district was higher than that in Lusaka district as determined by the Total Viable Count. This is an indicator that beef is being produced under poor abattoir hygiene conditions. Therefore, beef carcasses with high bacterial loads are potential sources of foodborne pathogens leading to foodborne disease, hence, there is need for advocating for good hygiene practices in the abattoirs.