Longitudinal molecular epidemiology study of the dissemination of enteric contamination within beef processing lines
DNA typing of generic 'Escherichia coli' isolates has been applied to determine the dissemination of enteric contamination within a low and high capacity beef processing lines. In the low capacity line the ' E. coli' populations associated with carcasses could be correlated to counts on the hide of the cattle prior to processing and many genotypes recovered could be traced to the farm or interior of the transporter. Significant cross-contamination between cattle occurred at the farm level, via contact with the stun floor and during hide removal. A greater level of cross-contamination occurred between carcasses processed on the high capacity line. Here during the course of dehiding, contamination on the hide was released into the air and deposited on carcasses, in addition to being dispersed throughout the line. The results from the study have underlined the utility of DNA-typing for developing and verifying HACCP plans in the meat industry.