Carcass Hygiene

In 1988 a New Zealand meat plant replaced its traditional dressing system with an inverted system, along with four machines: wide-to-narrow transfer, front hock remover, shoulder puller, and final puller. This system processed 3500 lambs per day (one dressing chain). The plant, as part of its quality control program, regularly swabbed set places (flap, leg, brisket) on the surface of randomly selected carcasses, to give aerobic plate counts. These data reflect the hygienic condition of the carcasses processed in the old and new dressing systems.

With the new system, only 1% of the counts were above 104/cm2, whereas with the old system 11% were above that

level. The new system also gave a lower mean count than did the old manual system (Fig. 11).

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