In Kenya, meat value chain (MVC) is an important component of the food supply chain serving as a source of nutrients and income. However, information regarding processing practices, hygiene and equipment use as affecting meat quality still remains unclear despite its relevance for data and for assessment for development of meat quality in the meat trade. Therefore, a cross sectional survey of selected slaughterhouses and butcheries in Eastern region of Kenya was carried out to assess the postharvest handling practices and meat quality. Forty meat samples were collected from rump, neck, stomach and hind legs cuts of the carcass and analyzed for total viable counts, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The findings indicate that over 50% of the meat handlers in slaughterhouses and butcheries have not received any formal training in good hygiene practices for meat handling. Total viable counts ranged from 2.159 to 2.736 log CFU/g, Staphylococcus aureus ranged from 1.112 to 1.324 log CFU/g, Escherichia coli ranged from 1.211 to 1.320 log CFU/g and Listeria monocytogenes ranged from 0.101 to 0.193 log CFU/g in the meat cuts. In conclusion, the study showed poor handling of meat which poses risks to consumers.
Key words: Meat quality, post-harvest practices, meat value chain.
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