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The muscle (meat) of a healthy animal is sterile. Contamination may be due to infection within
the animal or external contamination during slaughter and handling processes. High bacterial
load on carcasses may pose potential risk of meat contamination with Foodborne pathogens.
A cross sectional study was carried out to determine the bacterial load and isolate Salmonella
species from cattle carcasses slaughtered at Kano abattoir. An eighty cattle carcass was sampled
between December 2012 to April, and 2013. Swabs were collected from four positions (neck,
shoulder, brisket, and rump) on each carcass. The laboratory procedure was carried out using
ISO 6579:2002. Conventional biochemical test as well as MicrobactTM 12E was used for
bacterial identification. Data was analyzed using Epi info 7 and Microsoft Excel, 2007.
Out of the examined 80 carcasses 41 (51.3%) were from male and 39 (48.8%) from female
cattle carcasses. Bacteria but only 50 (62.5%) carcasses sampled yielded growth on Salmonella-
Shigella agar contaminated Seventy-nine (98.8%) cattle carcasses sampled. The average colony
count ranges from 3.8×105 to 2.3×106. The mean log cfu/ cm2 were 4.4±0.77. The study reveals
that only 15 (19%) of the total carcasses sampled are contaminated at satisfactory level of less
than 5 colonies per plate on average. Among the 50 carcasses sampled that yielded growth on
Salmonella-Shigella agar only 1 (1.25%) was identified by MicrobactTM 12E as Salmonella
Arizonae with the percentage probability of 76.4%. Other pathogenic bacteria include;
Citrobacter freundii (4.3%), Klebseilla oxytoca (25.5%), Proteus vulgaris (66.0%) and
Providentia rettgeri 4.3%.
The mean log cfu/cm2 from the findings of this study was within the marginal acceptable limit
(3.5-5.0 log cfu/cm2). The major sources of contamination are multiple contacts with
contaminated tools and operators‟ hands. Other possible source of contaminants, may due to the
unhygienic manner of handling meat in abattoirs, the environment upon which the meat is
slaughtered as well the water used in the processing of the meat. The prevalence of Salmonella
species was (1.25%).
In conclusion, the result of this work reflects poor conditions of carcasses slaughtering and
handling, and inadequate hygienic practices at Kano abattoir. Microbial load found in this study
shows to be above the satisfactory limit of carcass contamination. Salmonella was isolated in this
study and four other bacteria were isolated and identified.
It is therefore, recommended that thorough and adequate training on sustainable sanitary and
hygiene practice should be given to the abattoir workers periodically as well as implementing
strict meat inspection procedures.
Key words: Bacterial load, cattle, carcass, Salmonella
CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background Information
Food-borne pathogens are the leading cause of disease and death in developing countries costing
lots of money in medical care and social costs. 1 Changes in eating habits, mass catering,
complex and lengthy food supply procedures with increased international movement and poor
hygiene practices are major contributing factors. 2 Contaminated raw meat is one of the main
sources of food-borne illnesses. 3, 4 The risk of the transmission of zoonotic infections is also
associated with contaminated meat.
Meat is considered an important source of proteins, essential amino acids, B complex vitamins
and minerals. Due to this rich composition, it offers a highly favorable environment for the
growth of pathogenic bacteria. The microbiological contamination of carcasses occurs mainly
during processing and manipulation; such as skinning, evisceration, storage and distribution at
slaughterhouses and retail establishments. 5, 6 Epidemiological reports suggest that meat product
is one of the major causes of diarrheal illness which account for 36% of mortality cases in
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