This research project aims to investigate and reduce the contribution made by airborne microbiological contamination to carcasses in slaughterhouses.
<p>The first objective of this project is to quantify the contribution that aerosols make to carcass contamination.
This will be done by taking microbiological samples and airflow measurements in poultry, cattle and lamb slaughterhouses.
The provision of filtered air around carcasses will enable the contribution of aerosols to carcass microbiology to be determined.
<p>Using this, and the airflow data, models of aerosol movements will be produced.
Where possible, these models will be used to design practical ways to reduce airborne contamination.
Meat plant operators pay considerable attention to hygienic dressing and careful handling of red meat carcasses in line with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures to minimise contamination.
<p>However, some carcasses do have a significant number of bacteria on their surfaces following production, irrespective of how careful the dressing appears to have been.
<p>Poultry carcasses also appear to be highly contaminated with campylobacter following processing, even when negative flocks have been slaughtered. This indicates cross-contamination within the process.
<p>This project will investigate the contribution of micro-organisms by the aerosol route to carcass microbiology for red and white meat production.
The aim is to identify any significant sources and investigate practical ways to minimise them.
The final report, "<a href="http://www.foodbase.org.uk/results.php?f_report_id=304" target="_new">Guidance on the Role and Reduction of Airborne Contamination in Slaughterhouses (Beef, Lamb, Poultry)</a>" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the <acronym title="Food Standards Agency">FSA</acronym>.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.