Assessment of bacteriological quality of meat contact surfaces in selected butcher shops of Mekelle city, Ethiopia


Endale Balcha Gurmu, Hailay Gebretinsae

Aim: Microbiological methods are not commonly used to inspect the hygienic status of butcher shops. Therefore, the study was intended to identify and assess the bacterial quality of meat contact surfaces in 12 randomly selected meat shops in Mekelle city, Ethiopia. Method: A total of 72 swab samples were obtained from the butchers�?? knives, processing tables and workers�?? hands. The swab samples were inoculated on plate count agar for enumeration of bacterial load and on different selective media to isolate pathogenic bacteria. Out of the 72 swab samples, 24 each were collected from tables,workers�?? hands and knives of butcher shops. A structured questionnaire was also prepared to assess the knowledge of butchers on hygienic processing of meat.Results: The swabs collected pre-processing were analyzed and the mean bacterial count (log10cfu/cm2) was found to be 6.28, 5.67 and 5.30 from tables, hands and knives, respectively. Whereas the result for post processing was 6.56, 6.15 and 6.89 from tables, hands and knives, respectively.E. coli was the predominant isolate (32%) followed by Staphylococcus species (28%). The least bacterial isolates wereStreptococcus speciesandSalmonella specieswith frequency of isolation 20% each. The study revealed higher potential of contamination of meat from the working surfaces. Conclusion: It could be concluded that there was poor level of personnel hygiene and poor sanitation at the butcher shops. And there was lack of knowledge on hygienic practices to be followed. Thus there is need to educate butchers for practicing good sanitation and meat handling techniques