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  • 119 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Food Safety Management.DOI: 2014

    Meat and Meat ProductsJohn N. Sofos

    Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

    6C H A P T E R

    Introduction 120

    Hazards Associated with Meat and Meat Products 121

    General 121Microbial Contamination of

    Meat Products 123Spoilage Microorganisms in

    Meat Products 124Meat Fermentations 124Biological Hazards in Meat Products 125

    General 125Bacterial Hazards 129Other Biological Hazards and Concerns in Meat 132Animal Health, Welfare and Humane Treatment 133Animal and Meat Traceability 133Pathogen Resistance 134Environmental Contamination Issues 134

    Contamination Frequency and Incidence of Disease 134

    Contamination Frequency 134Meatborne Illness Episodes 136

    Control of Hazards at Different Stages of the Meat Chain 140

    Microbial Control Strategy 140Keeping Contamination Low 141

    General 141Cleaning and Sanitation 141Contamination Control at the Pre-harvest Level 142Carcass and Raw Meat Decontamination 142

    Destruction or Inhibition of Contamination 143General 143Bacterial Destruction 144Inhibition of Bacterial Growth 144Non-thermal Processing Treatments 145Meat Packaging 146Optimization of Sublethal Multiple Hurdles 147

    Meat Safety Process Management 148Regulatory Requirements 148Prerequisite Programs and HACCP 149HACCP Implementation through SOP 150Validation of CCP and CL 150

    O U T L I N E




    The safety of meat products has had a prominent position among societal concerns in recent years. Consumer health hazards associated with meat products are of a physical, chemical or biological nature. Besides allergens, which affect sensitive persons, the most serious meat safety issues resulting in immediate consumer health problems and recalls from the marketplace of potentially contaminated products are associated with hazards of a biological nature, especially pathogenic bacteria. Microbial pathogens cause mild, severe, brief or chronic gastrointestinal or invasive human illness, or death. Viral pathogens cause the highest numbers of foodborne illness cases and are a major concern at food service, while parasitic agents become problematic under specific circumstances and in certain geo-graphical areas. Spoilage microorganisms result in loss of quality and shortening of shelf-life, which lead to reduced food supplies and economic losses (Sofos, 2013; Sofos etal., 2013).

    The microbiological quality and safety of meat products is compromised by system failures or abuses during food animal production, product processing and distribution, and preparation for consumption, as well as by consumption habits. Despite continuous improvements in meat processing, documented disease episodes and concern about meat products acting as vehicles of hazards are increasing rather than diminishing. The reasons for this trend are multiple and may include: changes in animal production, product pro-cessing and distribution; increased worldwide meat consumption; increased international meat trade; changing consumer needs, such as increased preference for minimally pro-cessed products; increasing numbers of consumers at risk for infection; emerging pathogens of increased virulence and resistance to control or clinical treatment; advances in microbial detection methodologies; inadequate food worker and consumer education and training in proper food handling; and increased interest, awareness and scrutiny of foodborne illness episodes by consumers, news media and consumer organizations (Sofos etal., 2013).

    Sources contributing microbial contamination to animals and meat include animal feces, soil, water, air, feed, hides, intestines, lymph nodes, processing equipment, utensils and humans. Identifying the sources and modes of meat product contamination is important for proper hazard control and enhancement of meat safety. Proper sanitation and hygienic prac-tices are essential in keeping contamination at low levels. However, as some level of con-tamination is unavoidable, and because products support microbial growth, they should be handled and preserved properly throughout the supply chain in order to maintain quality and safety. A comprehensive strategy for controlling microbial problems in meat products should involve implementation of interventions or procedures that: (1) prevent or minimize access and transfer of microorganisms to the product; (2) reduce initial contamination by

    Monitoring of CCPs and CLs 150Verification of HACCP 151Microbial Testing in Meat Safety

    Assurance 151Education and Training 152

    Non-intervention HACCP 153HACCP with Interventions 153

    Conclusions 158

    References 158



    removal or inactivation of microorganisms which have gained access; (3) inactivate or kill microorganisms on products; and (4) prevent, delay or slow down growth of microorgan-isms, which have gained access and have not been inactivated. Proper implementation and management of such an approach ensures the safety of meat products or at least reduces the incidence of microbial meatborne illness. It should be mentioned that modification of food service and consumer habits and behavior should also contribute to improved safety of meat and meat products. Microbial meatborne illness may be associated with intentional (e.g. steak tartar) or accidental (i.e. Jack-in-the Box Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak through consumption of undercooked ground beef in the United States) consumption of raw or undercooked products.

    Overall, there is a need for better understanding of hazard behavior and approaches for effective control in meat and meat products. The objectives of this chapter are to: identify and briefly describe hazards associated with meat and meat products; summarize data on contamination levels, outbreaks and incidence of disease; describe control of risks at differ-ent stages of the meat product chain/from primary production, processing, distribution, etc., including packaging; and overview the implementation of the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) process management system for pathogen control in meat products.



    Hazards that compromise the safety of meat and meat products are of a physical, chemi-cal or biological nature. Physical hazards originate from the environment and the raw materials, and include bone chips and foreign bodies such as metal, glass, wood, plastic, stones, etc. Chemical hazards include natural and synthetic environmental contaminants such as residues of animal drugs and pesticides, or industrial chemicals present in the ani-mal or processing environment, or resulting from excessive use of food additives in pro-cessed products. Biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, parasites and abnormal prions (agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) such as bovine spongi-form encephalopathy (BSE) commonly known as mad cow disease).

    Hazards of a chemical nature that may be present in meat products include mycotoxins resulting from feeding animals with moldy feeds or due to uncontrolled mold growth in certain meat products aged improperly and for long periods of time. Use of chemicals (e.g. antibiotics, hormones, growth promoting agents) during meat animal production, for better growth, feed efficiency and disease control, as well as accidental contamination with indus-trial chemicals (e.g. dioxins), is of concern to consumers, and causes trade conflicts between certain countries. A portion of the consuming public continues being concerned about the safety of residues of food additives (e.g. common salt, nitrate, nitrite, lactates, phosphates and other compounds) in processed meat products. These materials play important func-tions in the processing, quality, shelf-life and microbial safety of processed meat products. Overall, the contribution of additives and their residues to the overall food safety concerns in meat products is considered small, in particular in industrialized countries where there is extensive legislation for their control. Nevertheless, concerns for potential presence of



    residues of certain toxic chemicals, such as dioxins, in meat products are well founded as it has occurred and has caused major consumer scares from time to time (Sofos, 2013). In general, as consumer concerns and food safety issues associated with chemical residues continue, the search for natural products to replace synthetic ones will also continue. Chemicals, acting as allergens in sensitive consumers are often causes of product recalls. They become a problem when they accidentally contaminate a product or have not been declared on the product label. It should be recognized that food allergen issues are impor-tant and should be addressed through labeling or production of additive-free alternative products when feasible.

    The debate over the positive and negative aspects of meat in the human diet also re-emerges from time to time. Studies are needed to better elucidate the issues and allow prudent recommendations concerning these debates. Overall, meat, even in reduced portions, plays an important role in the human diet and health and will remain a main component of human diets. In contrast, currently, biological pathogens, which cause prob-lems of immediate and obvious human health concern, will continue receiving most of the public attentio