The objective of this study was to evaluate the changes in microbial contamination levels of each porcine carcass and fresh pork in a general distribution process. A total of 100 commercial pigs were sampled (six sampling sites per individual, total 600 samples) at four sequential stages: slaughterhouse (after carcass grading and boning), processing line, retail outlet, and local market. No significant differences were observed in the contaminant percentages among sampling sites and sample collection years (P>0.05) with the exception of Bacillus cereus. The contaminant percentage of B. cereus at 1st collection year was higher than these of 2nd collection year (28.31% vs12.26%, P<0.05). B. cereus and Listeria monocytogenes were the most frequently detected pathogenic bacteria in the slaughterhouse and markets, respectively. On the other hand, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Yersinia enterocolitica were not detected in carcasses or pork collected from any carcass sites and pork samples. However, the frequency of pathogenic bacteria in end-products at local markets was not highly related to the initial contamination of porcine carcasses in the slaughterhouse. Thus, the improvement of microbial safety for pork end-products requires hygienic control of porcine carcasses and meat cutting during all operations in the slaughterhouse, processing line, retail outlet, and local market.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Korea Food and Drug Administration. The authors also thank the Institute of Biomedical Science and Food Safety, Korea University Food Safety Hall for providing the equipment and facilities.
- Foodborne pathogenic bacteria
- Porcine carcass
- Stepwise monitoring