Animal source foods, including meat and poultry, are highly perishable foods. Loss of quality occurs from physical and chemical changes caused by their inherent properties, as well as by extrinsic factors, including processing, storage, and handling conditions. They are also able to support the growth of spoilage microorganisms that are mainly acquired from the production and processing environment; thus, loss of quality also occurs as a result of their metabolic activities. Furthermore, due to their nature and origin, meat and poultry products may also be associated with microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. In addition, the presence of chemical residues in these foods raises safety concerns. Procedures to control the quality and safety of meat and poultry foods require an integrated approach encompassing all sectors of the food supply chain, including the producers, processors, distributors, retailers, and consumers. This includes, among others, good production practices on the farm, slaughtering of animals that are disease-free, processing of carcasses under sanitary and hygienic conditions, use of decontamination intervention strategies to reduce microbial levels, maintenance of the cold chain during distribution, and proper storage and preparation procedures by the consumer.
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