Main content area

A risk microbiological profile of the Australian red meat industry: Risk ratings of hazard-product pairings

Sumner, J., Ross, T., Jenson, I., Pointon, A.
International journal of food microbiology 2005 v.105 no.2 pp. 221-232
red meat, beef, mutton, goat meat, quality control, livestock and meat industry, HACCP, critical control points, catering, cooked foods, hamburgers, fermented foods, home food preparation, cross contamination, food contamination, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, ready-to-eat foods, food pathogens, virulence, rating scales, predictive microbiology, risk profile, Australia
A risk profile of microbial hazards across the supply continuum for the beef, sheep and goat meat industries was developed using both a qualitative tool and a semi-quantitative, spreadsheet tool, Risk Ranger. The latter is useful for highlighting factors contributing to food safety risk and for ranking the risk of various product/pathogen combinations. In the present profile the qualitative tool was used as a preliminary screen for a wide range of hazard-product pairings while Risk Ranger was used to rank in order of population health risk pairings for which quantitative data were available and for assessing the effect of hypothetical scenarios. 'High' risk hazard-product pairings identified were meals contaminated with Clostridium perfringens provided by caterers which have not implemented HACCP; kebabs cross-contaminated by Salmonella present in drip trays or served undercooked; meals served in the home cross-contaminated with Salmonella. 'Medium' risk hazard-product pairings identified were ready-to-eat meats contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and which have extended shelf life; Uncooked Comminuted Fermented Meat (UCFM)/Salami contaminated with Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and Salmonella; undercooked hamburgers contaminated with EHEC; kebabs contaminated by Salmonella under normal production or following final “flash” heating. Identified 'low' risk hazard-product pairings included cooked, ready-to-eat sausages contaminated with Salmonella; UCFM/Salami contaminated with L. monocytogenes; well-cooked hamburgers contaminated with EHEC. The risk profile provides information of value to Australia's risk managers in the regulatory, processing and R&D sectors of the meat and meat processing industry for the purposes of identifying food safety risks in the industry and for prioritising risk management actions.