Assessment of beef microbial contamination at abattoir and retail meat shops in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania
A cross section study was conducted in Morogoro Municipality to assess microbial contamination in beef production chain from abattoir to retail meat shops during February to May, 2012. Questionnaire on abattoir and meat shop hygiene was administered to 60 respondents. Meat, meat in-contact surface swab and water samples at the abattoir (n=36) and 14 meat shops (n=56) were analyzed for Total Viable Counts (TVC), Total Coliform Counts (TCC) and Total Faecal Coliform Counts (TFC). It was found that the respondents had not attended to any training on meat hygiene, had no protective gears and do not perform regular health examination. The infrastructure appeared obsolete. Carcasses and meat handling environment at abattoir and retail meat shops were in unhygienic condition. Water was scarce in the abattoir and meat shops. Water analysis showed heavy microbial contamination (mean TVC log 5.2±0.3). All the meat and meat in-contact surfaces were at different levels of microbial contamination and were beyond FAO recommendations. The mean TVC in meat was Log 7.2±1 cfu/g with the highest count (Log 7.24±1.3 cfu/g) recorded in samples from meat shops. The mean TVC on meat in-contact surfaces was Log 6±1.3 cfu/cm2 while mean TCC and TFC in meat were Log 6.1±1.6 and 5.9±1.7 cfu/g respectively. High microbiological loads in meat indicate gross contaminations along the whole meat value chain and pose potential risks for public health. Results obtained in this study provide information to the local government authorities and all stakeholders in the meat industry for proper management of the abattoir, retail meat shops and personnel; outlines key aspects for interventions and suggests future developments to prevent health risks associated with handling and consumption of contaminated meat.
Keywords: Abattoir, retail meat shops, meat in-contact surfaces, microbial contamination