Avoiding meat contamination at slaughterhouses is crucial for food safety; consumers’ awareness and concern for the type of food they eat has attracted global attention and redirected research interests towards food safety. The practical hygiene in the slaughterhouse operations play key role in the safety and wholesomeness of meat. A cross sectional survey was carried out on 60 slaughterhouses in Ibadan, Oyo and Ogbomosho, in Oyo State, South Western Nigeria. A well-structured pre-tested checklist was administered and scored; data collected were subjected to descriptive statistics and t-test to separate significant differences between abattoirs and slaughter slabs. This study revealed that for the 50 items scored, only four [environmental cleanliness (66.7%), washing of slaughtering tools and equipments (60%), access to facility to wash hands and shoes (71.7%), and appropriateness of slaughterhouse location (58.3%)] were partially observed. The remaining 46 are non-existent or poorly implemented. However, only 9 out of the 23 items of the practical hygiene and level of cleanliness compared between the surveyed abattoirs and slaughter slabs, showed significant (p < 0.05) differences. These are garbage disposal (p<0.001), washing of slaughtering tools and equipments (p<0.001), disinfection of the slaughterhouse (p<0.014), disinfection of premises (p<0.001), and disinfection of infrastructure and equipments (p<0.002). Others are, availability of sufficient and clean water (p<0.001), good hygiene (p<0.033) and also, hands washing after slaughtering (p<0.001) and hands disinfection (p<0.001). The surveyed abattoirs performed better than slaughter slabs in hygiene and level of cleanliness. But nevertheless all evidences of unhygienic practices and predisposing risk factors across the surveyed slaughter locations would serve as critical points for the distribution of contaminated meat to the public, and also serve as medium for occupational disease acquisition. Hence the issue of food safety is called to question. There is the need for workers training on operational hygiene and occupational zoonoses.
Key words: Contamination, meat hygiene, risk factors, slaughterhouse.
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