Animal Products and Handling: A Caution for Consumers and Entrepreneurs
This study reviewed pertinent literature on edible animal products and handling with respect to contaminations and adulterations. Animal products include eggs, meat, milk, fish, skin/hide that are processed into other by products for human consumption. There is the need for awareness campaignsto consumers and entrepreneurs that engage in the handling and processing of these products. The high micro flora load commonly observed in these products is an indicative of poor hygiene and handling operations.For instance, viable count for pasteurized milk that should be consumed ought not to exceed 30, 000 microbes per ml, and bacterial count exceeding 105/g or coliform count higher than 102/g in delicatessen food products are indicative of dangerous contaminations. Contaminations may occur at various stages of the food chain; at farm, during slaughter, further processing or in the kitchen. However, many diseases such as anthrax, Escherichia coli, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, brucellosis, diphtheria, scarlet fever; Q fever, gastroenteritis, salmonella etc are known to be transmitted via contaminated animal products. Methods of preserving animal products include the use of high temperature (canning), low temperature (freezing), drying (sun drying, smoking, use of radiation and chemical preservatives). Drying reduces the moisture content to a level that prevents the growth of microorganisms especially fungi and bacteria. It is, however, suggested that all animal products meant for consumption should be adequately washed or heat treated to enhance processing and preservation/storage for improved keeping quality.
Key words: Animal Products, Handling, Consumers, Entrepreneurs