Determination of bacteriological quality of fresh beef post- harvesting in Nyagacho slum, Kericho, Kenya
Ronoh, Kipkurui Bernard
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While food borne diseases remain an important public health problem worldwide, one of the most significant food safety hazards is associated with those from animals. Food borne infections and illnesses are a major international health problem with consequent economic reduction and deaths. Meat is considered the most important source of proteins consumed by humans, yet most perishable. For highly perishable foodstuffs such as fresh red meat, the threat of food poisoning is particularly high since it contains all the nutrients that support bacterial growth. Inappropriate slaughtering and retail operation can compromise food safety and more so, in densely populated areas like informal settlements. In the present study, the microbial quality of meat from slaughterhouse and butcheries supplying residents of Nyagacho, Kericho County was assessed to determine their safety for human consumption and to highlight the potential contamination points. The bacteriological quality of the meat samples were performed using the Total Plate Count (TPC) method, while standard culture methods were used for bacteria isolation and identification. Equipment, walls, floors, hands and clothing of meat personnel were swabbed and analyzed by means of Rodac plates. The results obtained indicated that the meat quality from the butcheries exceeded acceptable range over the study period. The bacteriological load obtained from the study in the slaughterhouse however, was within the acceptable range <3.5 log (HACCP 2002). During the study, the meat sampled from the slaughterhouse was therefore fit for human consumption (ranged between ± 3.20 - ±3.50 log). However, butchery isolates recorded high counts exceeding the acceptable maximum limits prescribed by Meat HACCP (Scotland) regulations 2002 No. 234. TPC yielded counts as high as ±6.49 - ±7.50 and exceeded the accepted range > 5.0 cfu/g and hence all butchery meat sampled during the study was not fit for consumption. It was established that there was a high significant difference (p=0.000 at p<0.05) of the means from the two sites (slaughterhouse and butcheries). From 27 samples cultured from the slaughterhouse, 15 tested positive for pathogens. Of the 15, 4 (27%) were positive for Staphylococcus aureus, 6 (40%) for Proteus vulgaris and 5 (33%) for Proteus rettgeri. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was not isolated in all the samples of the slaughterhouse. From the 27 samples collected from butcheries, 24 were positive for pathogens. Of the 24, 7(29%) were positive for Staphylococcus aureus, 6 (25%) for Proteus rettgeri, 7 (29%) for Proteus vulgaris and 4 (17%) for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. During the study period, meat from the sampled butcheries was not suitable for human consumption since the counts exceeded the acceptable limits and hence a serious threat to the consumers‟ and calls for urgent intervention.