• Indicator organisms to determine the use of chilling as a critical point in beef slaughter HACCP

      Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Sheridan, James J.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      During chilling, temperatures of carcass surfaces at different sites change over time as do other parameters such as water activity (aw), the structure of the muscle and other tissues, as the carcass enters rigor mortis. Many of these factors are known to have a major effect on cell survival and growth and must be considered in determining the influence of chilling on bacterial survival on carcass surfaces. This study aimed to determine if chilling could be used as a critical control point (CCP) in beef slaughter in relation to pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes, using E. coli and Listeria innocua as pathogen indicators. The present study was designed to determine the influence of (a) chilling at 10oC for 72 h on the survival of E. coli and (b) chilling at 4oC for 72 h on the survival of L. innocua inoculated at different sites on beef carcasses. Three sites (neck, outside round and brisket) were inoculated (1) immediately after dressing while hot (E. coli and L. innocua) and (2) when cold after chilling (L. innocua). The influence of changes in surface aw was also considered and their relationship to the survival of E. coli and L. innocua over time was assessed. The data are discussed in relation to the use of chilling as a CCP in beef hazard analysis (HACCP) and the monitoring of neck temperature as the most suitable CCP.
    • Spread of brain and spinal cord material during beef slaughter

      Daly, Dyan J.; Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2002-04)
      Emboli of brain tissue in the lungs have been reported in cases following severe head injury (McMillan 1956) and birth trauma in people (Hauck e t al 1990) and in cattle following stunning (Bauer 1996; Garland 1996). This has important implications for food safety if the brain tissue of stunned cattle is infected with the prion responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), (Prusiner 1991). BSE emerged following changes in the rendering process in the early 1980s which allowed the aetiologic agent to survive, contaminate protein feed supplement and infect cattle (Brown e t al. 2001). Within a short period of time after the first case of BSE, concerns were expressed regarding the transmission of BSE to humans and the likelihood of infection from consumption of beef and beef products. This has become increasingly significant with the discovery of the link between BSE in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in man (Bruce e t al 1997).
    • Tracking of Salmonella through the Pork Slaughter Process

      Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Duggan, Sharon J.; Duffy, Geraldine; Downey, Gerard; Safefood; National Development Plan 2007-2013 (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      To help address the problem of salmonellosis in the Republic of Ireland (RoI), a national Salmonella control programme was introduced in 1997 with a view to reducing the prevalence of Salmonella in pigs on the farm and on pig carcasses. The primary objective of this present study was to determine the correlation between the Salmonella serological and bacteriological status of pigs presented for slaughter and the Salmonella status of pork cuts following slaughter, dressing and chilling. Two additional studies investigated the prevalence and numbers of Salmonella spp. in the boning halls of four commercial pork abattoirs and at retail level in butcher shops and supermarkets in the RoI. The results indicated that categorisation of pig herds on the basis of a historical serological test for Salmonella was not a good predictor of the bacteriological Salmonella status of individual pigs at time of slaughter. However, it is acknowledged that serological testing does help in giving a rough estimate of the overall Salmonella status of a pig herd. There was a linear correlation between prevalence of Salmonella in caecal contents and on pork cuts at factory level; therefore, if the number of herds presented for slaughter with high levels of Salmonella (category 3) was reduced, there would be less potential for contamination of the lairage, equipment etc. and so less likelihood of Salmonella contamination on pork. The impact of crosscontamination during transport, lairage, processing and distribution cannot be ignored and measures to diminish this would significantly reduce the dissemination of Salmonella in the chain and the consequent risk posed. A key finding was the considerable variation in the incidence of Salmonella on different sampling days and in different slaughter plants.