University Of Tasmania

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Microbiological Quality of Australian Sheep Meat

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 12:49 authored by Phillips, D, John Sumner, Alexander, JF, Dutton, K
Microbiological quality of sheep carcasses and boneless sheep meat produced in Australia was surveyed during the period June to November 1998. Sponge samples were collected from 917 carcasses, and meat samples were drilled from 467 cartons of frozen boneless meat. Carcass and boneless meat samples were respectively collected from 7 and 10 establishments that concentrated on export, and from 36 and 5 establishments supplying the Australian domestic market of which 31 were very small plants slaughtering cattle and sheep but no more than 1,200 sheep equivalents per week. The mean log total viable counts were 3.55/cm 2 and 3.30/g for carcasses and boneless meat, respectively. Escherichia coli was detected on 29.2% of carcasses and 24.5% of boneless meat samples and coagulase-positive staphylococci on 24.1% of carcasses, and 38.6% of boneless meat samples. Salmonella was detected on 0.1% of carcasses and 1.3% of boneless meat samples. E. coli O157:H7 was recovered from 0.7% of carcasses and 1.3% of boneless sheep meat. There were statistically significant differences between establishment types for some microbiological criteria, although there were no significant differences in prevalence of Salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 between establishment types. While there were differences in sampling and microbiological techniques between this study and another conducted in 1993 to 1994 that require detailed consideration, there were small but significant improvements in several microbiological criteria for boneless meat. While data that would allow for comparison of carcass data were not gathered, it is unlikely that improvements in the microbiological quality of boneless sheep meat could accrue without improvements to carcasses.


Publication title

Journal of Food Protection










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


International Association for Food Protection

Place of publication

Des Moines, IA

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Carcass meat (incl. fish and seafood)

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