Evaluation of poultry processing practices, related public health laws and diseases of chickens at slaughter: A pilot study in Kaduna state
Poultry processing procedures and environment are integral to the quality and safety of meat derived from poultry. The existing practices used in the slaughter and processing of poultry and the disposition of poultry workers towards poultry inspection in four major live bird markets in Kaduna were evaluated using structured questionnaires administered to 30 marketers, 51 processors, 19 marketers/processors and each market manager respectively. Background public health regulations related to poultry production and processing as provided within the Meat Law (1968), Food and Drug Act (1974) and Animal Diseases (Control) Act (1988) were also assessed for gaps that could compromise quality and safety of poultry products in Nigeria. The diseases detectable at postmortem inspection of 1000 poultry carcasses processed in these live bird markets were documented. Live bird market workers were all males mainly between 20-39 years of age and had secondary school education (64%). Majority (51%) consist of poultry processors, largely ignorant of public health laws. Up to 95% and 74% of the workers will welcome routine ante-mortem and post mortem inspection respectively. Lesions related to Newcastle disease had the highest frequency of occurrence (41.6%) amongst inspected birds. Existing laws have made provisions to ensure that animal production and processing are coordinated for the benefits and health of the general populace. Laws evaluated have gaps that could compromise various stages of quality assurance along the poultry value chain, lack specificity in terms of addressing specific issues of poultry hygiene and did not adequately empower the veterinary services to enforce measures that will ensure safe poultry products. Hence, the revised Animal Disease Control Edict and Meat Hygiene Act should be passed into law, Nigerian live poultry market workforce needs training on poultry processing precautionary public health measures, and the use of protective clothing should be made mandatory.
Keywords: Inspection, Legislation, Poultry, Processing, Public health