Keywords: dressed carcasses, education, training, microbial contamination, physical contamination, slaughterhouse workers, cross-contamination, hygiene, food safety, communication skills, cleaning regimes, sanitising procedures, postharvest
The role of education and training levels of slaughterhouse workers in the cross-contamination of carcasses
Meat products are frequently implicated in foodborne diseases. The hygienic status of dressed carcasses is largely dependent upon the general slaughterhouse hygiene and the skills of the workers. Training, knowledge of food safety issues and communication skills of slaughterhouse workers were evaluated to identify their role in the contamination of carcasses. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in a range of languages as no common language was spoken by all workers. Educational standards were generally low. About 17% of workers had no formal education and the majority of them (89%) had no training in safe food-handling. Personal hygiene standards were also low. In general, workers did not view themselves or the equipment as possible sources of contamination. The majority of the workers had limited understanding of effective cleaning regimes and sanitising procedures. The results demonstrate the potential benefits of appropriate educational and skills training in reducing the contamination levels on dressed carcasses.