September 8, 2008

Glove use in Australia's meat plants greatly reduces bacterial incidences

Even though Staphylococcus Aureus, the bacteria that causes mastitis in dairy cows is still present in Australian meat in moderate levels, use of gloves in meat handling processes have greatly reduced their incidences.


National baseline studies of the microbiology of Australian meat have attested moderate levels of Staphylococcus aureus on carcass and boneless meats.


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the causal agents of mastitis in dairy cows, which is the inflammation of the mammary gland. This disease and resulting infection can significantly reduce milk production.


A recent study of retail meat showed prevalence and concentration of the organism had increased from those at beef and sheep abattoirs and boning room levels.


However, the study also found that there has been  a radical increase in the use of gloves by operators which virtually eliminated the bacteria's presence from carcasses at some abbatoirs,


Whereas at other plants, S. aureus prevalence and concentration has been reduced compared with levels established by the last national baseline study in 2004.


However, investigations at one plant showed that even a small number of operators without gloves can lead to S. aureus being isolated from 80 percent of carcasses at a mean log10 concentration of 1 cfu/cm2.

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