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Developing Best Practices for Small and Very Small Pork Processing Plants to Improve Food Safety
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Best practices have previously been developed for beef slaughter and further processing operations with input from academic and industry leaders. Best practices for pork processors have not been developed, and those developed for the beef industry may not always be applicable to the operations of Small and Very Small establishments. Small and Very Small establishments warrant unique consideration in terms of financial and technological capabilities. While larger processors utilize multiple capital-intensive microbial interventions, smaller establishments often must rely on sanitary practices and more traditional interventions. In order to develop best practices for Small and Very Small pork slaughter and further processing establishments, a survey instrument seeking information on establishment and facility characteristics as well as current sanitary practices was distributed to Small and Very Small establishments in the Southwest region. Additionally, microbiological baselines were established for six Small and Very Small pork slaughter and/or further processing establishments to allow the efficacy of best practices to be assessed following implementation in each of the six plants. Survey responses revealed areas where best practice recommendation efforts may be focused, and microbiological baseline data provided insight to the condition of carcasses and environmental surfaces using current sanitary practices. Combined, the data reveal the opportunities for improvement in the food safety systems of Small and Very Small pork processing establishments.
Hendricks, Matthew Benton (2013). Developing Best Practices for Small and Very Small Pork Processing Plants to Improve Food Safety. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from