The objectives of this study were to determine the microbial risk associated with condensation in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) processing environments and to identify controllable risk factors associated with condensation formation.
In all facilities and all seasons, there was less than one coliform cell detected/ml of condensation in the plant. More than 50-100 ml of condensation had to be collected in order to detect measurable amount of bacteria. Similarly, there were few aerobic bacteria present in the samples. Samples were collected from environmental areas and from processing equipment and the presence of some aerobic bacteria is to be expected. The numbers were very low. There were no seasonality differences in the amount of condensation present in this study. Additionally, the amount of bacteria present was similar in slaughter, fabrication and ready-to-eat areas in both pre-operational and operational samples. Additionally, the amount of bacteria detected was similar among all plants participating in this study indicating that data are likely applicable to a number of different operations.>
Condensation, present in slaughter, fabrication and ready to eat meat processing areas does not appear to contain microbial loads that will contaminate the product. However, it is still important to control the presence of condensation as a part of good practices because is left uncontrolled it could be possible for the bacteria that are present to increase or to create a niche for a particular microorganism.