Control Points To Reduce Movement of Central Nervous System Tissue during Beef Slaughter

J. L. Aalhus, R. D. Thacker, I. L. Larsen, J. C. Roberts, M. A. Price, and M. Juárez (2017) Control Points To Reduce Movement of Central Nervous System Tissue during Beef Slaughter. Journal of Food Protection: February 2017, Vol. 80, No. 2, pp. 355-360. DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-302

Abstract

Consumption of central nervous system tissue (CNST) from cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is thought to cause the human neurological disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. To identify points of cross-contamination of beef carcasses with CNST, 55 young beef cattle were slaughtered and processed through a federally inspected multispecies abattoir. The objectives of this study were to evaluate CNST spread following the placement of a plug in the penetration site of the skull after captive bolt stunning, to evaluate cross-contamination of carcasses before and after splitting, to compare the effects of hot water pasteurization (84°C for 10 s) versus cold water wash (10°C for 30 s) for reducing CNST on the carcass, and to examine other possible sources of cross-contamination in the abattoir. Results indicated that the use of a plastic plug reduced CNST contamination near the bolt penetration site. This study also confirmed that carcass splitting resulted in an increase in CNST contamination at various areas of the carcass. Hot water pasteurization appeared to be an effective means of removing CNST contamination from carcasses in most of the areas sampled.

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