Meat under the hide or pelt is free from bacteria unless the carcase is diseased. It is only during processing that contamination happens. There are a number of causes including the following.

  • Workers who do not keep their hands, clothes and equipment clean can spread bacteria from themselves to the meat and from carcase to carcase.
  • If the plant and equipment is not cleaned properly this will provide a breeding ground for bacteria. The meat will be contaminated when it comes into contact with the dirty surfaces and equipment.
  • The hides or pelts of all livestock are covered with dust, dirt and manure. Bacteria breed on the hide or pelts of these animals. Bacterial contamination will be caused if workers let the hair or wool of an animal brush against the meat as can happen with flapping hides on cattle and roll back on sheep during dressing.
  • Rodents, insects and birds landing on equipment, walking around and defecating can spread bacteria in a plant and onto the product.