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Chemical and Hygienic Qualities of Stripped and Burnt Sheep Meat in Southern Benin



Chakirath F.A. Salifou, Gwladys G.A. Ahouanse, Pascal S. Kiki, Ignace O. Dotche, Raoul Agossa, Mikidadou T. Issifou and Issaka A.K. Youssao
 
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ABSTRACT

Background and Objective: Burning and stripping are the main methods of dressing sheep slaughtered in Benin's slaughterhouses. This study aims to compare the quality of sheep meat according to the type of dressing in Southern Benin. Materials and Methods: The hygienic quality was assessed through research on total vial counts (TVC), enterobacteria, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella in 70 samples (35 from each dressing method). Chemical analyses were carried out on 40 samples of Longissimus dorsi (20 from each dressing method). Results: TVC, Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli count of burnt sheep carcasses (5.10±1.37, 4.12±0.59 and 2.06±0.91 log CFU cm2, respectively) were significantly higher (p<0.05) than those of stripped sheep carcasses. Salmonella was only detected in 7 samples of burnt sheep meat. Meat chemical composition did not change except for the protein content which is higher in burnt sheep. Conclusion: This study shows that the hygienic quality of meat from sheep slaughtered in the south Benin slaughterhouse remains inadequate, regardless of the dressing method.

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Chakirath F.A. Salifou, Gwladys G.A. Ahouanse, Pascal S. Kiki, Ignace O. Dotche, Raoul Agossa, Mikidadou T. Issifou and Issaka A.K. Youssao, 2022. Chemical and Hygienic Qualities of Stripped and Burnt Sheep Meat in Southern Benin. Asian Journal of Animal Sciences, 16: 55-61.

DOI: 10.3923/ajas.2022.55.61

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ajas.2022.55.61
 
Copyright: © 2022. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

INTRODUCTION

Meat and its derivatives have prominent importance in the human diet for both nutritional and organoleptic reasons. Its high protein content (19-35% depending on the type of meat) and the nature of these proteins makes it difficult to replace food1. In Benin, the national production of meat was estimated at 81,417 tons in 2018 and is mainly composed of beef (51%), poultry (18%) and small ruminants (12%)2. Although occupying third place in national meat production, small ruminants play a very important socio-economic role3. They are used for cultural and religious purposes, during festivals and for many sacrifices across in the country. They are accessible at any time of the year, so they are slaughtered daily in slaughterhouses, killings or slaughter areas in the country. Several different methods of dressing are used in the preparation of the small ruminant's carcasses. The common practice is to manually tear off the skin, thus exposing the carcass. However, others are burnt or scalded to remove the hair and are presented with the skin adhering to the carcass4. Consumers express their purchase preferences by choosing one or the other form of carcass presentation. This choice is usually related to hygienic or organoleptic quality or to the relatively long cooking time for carcasses presented with the skin. Furthermore, the consumer's preference for one or another type of meat can also be related to the culinary dishes that will be made from the meat obtained from these carcasses or to the consumer's dislike towards the skin4. There is thus a diversified demand for sheepmeat from Beninese consumers. The satisfaction of this demand, in terms of meat quality, is reflected at the research level by the need to identify, apart from pre-slaughter factors, slaughter and post-slaughter, practices that can influence the quality of meat. The safety and hygiene of slaughterhouses and slaughter areas, including the workers involved in the slaughter process, play a major role in meat quality5. The work of Salifou et al.4 on ewes slaughtered at the Cotonou slaughterhouse showed that the slaughter process and, specifically, the burning of the animal's hair after slaughter, positively influences the tenderness of the meat compared to that of stripped sheep. However, the effects of dressing practices on the hygienic and nutritional quality of sheep meat slaughtered in Benin remain less documented.

The objective of this study is to access the hygienic and nutritional quality of sheep meat according to the type of dressing.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study area: The carcasses used in this study came from the Cotonou slaughterhouse in South Benin. Laboratory analyses were performed at the Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Meat Technology at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Republic of Benin) and the National Laboratory for Quality Testing of Metrology and Analysis, of the Nangui Abrogoua University (Côte d'Ivoire). The study was carried out from March-September, 2019.

Slaughter process: The slaughter process was approved by the Animal Health Production of the Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi (University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin). The slaughter process for sheep at the Cotonou slaughterhouse was previously described by Salifou et al.4. The animals to be slaughtered are inspected antemortem the day before slaughter by a veterinary inspector. On slaughter day, the animals are sent to the slaughter hall in groups of 5 or 10. Once there, they are individually weighed. To keep them under control, the posterior and anterior limbs are joined together and attached with a rope provided for that purpose. The animals are then placed on the ground to direct the jugular vein towards the cutthroat and then they are slaughtered using a very sharp and clean knife. They are then dressed. Some are burnt with a high-burning wood fire and then scraped and turned over at every moment. At the end of the burning process, which lasts longer than the stripping process, they are washed with a steel sponge before being eviscerated on the ground. For others, the skin is completely detached from the muscles, so they are stripped before being eviscerated. The rumen and intestines are taken to the drainage areas to be emptied and undergo the first cleaning. They are then taken back to the gut room where they are properly cleaned before being sold. The legs and head are burnt to remove hooves and hair. The leather is sold directly for use as carpets or leather goods.

Evaluation of the hygienic quality of burnt and stripped sheep carcasses: The hygienic quality of burnt and stripped sheep meat was assessed through microbiological analysis performed on meat samples taken from the carcasses. These analysis involved in the research and enumeration of total vial count (TVC), Enterobacteriaceae, Salmonella, which are indicators of process hygiene and E. coli, which is an indicator of faecal contamination6.

Table 1: ISO standard method detail
Standard year
Purpose
ISO numbers
(original/modified)
ISO title URL link
Sample collection
ISO 17604:2015
2015 (modified)
Microbiology of food and animal feeding https://www.iso.org/standard/33146.html
stuffs-carcass sampling for microbiological analysis
TVC calculation
ISO 4833-1:2013
2013 (modified)
Horizontal method for the enumeration of https://www.iso.org/standard/53728.html
microorganisms
Salmonella calculation
ISO 6579-1:2017
2017 (modified)
Horizontal method for the detection, https://www.iso.org/standard/56712.html
enumeration and serotyping of Salmonella
Enterobacteriaceae
ISO 6888-3:2003
2003 (original)
Horizontal method for the enumeration of https://www.iso.org/standard/33147.html
coagulase-positive staphylococci
(Staphylococcus aureus and other species)
Escherichia coli
ISO 7251:2005
2005 (original)
Horizontal method for the detection and
enumeration of presumptive Escherichia coli https://www.iso.org/standard/34568.html

Sampling: Microbiological analysis was carried out on meat samples from 70 carcasses (35 from stripped sheep and 35 from burnt sheep). Samples were taken 1 day per week for 7 weeks and under ISO 17604:2015 (Table 1). The day of sampling varied each week to ensure that the results were representative of the entire week. For each day of sampling, 10 samples were taken, 5 from stripped sheep and the other 5 from burnt sheep.

Following Decision 2001/471/EC of June 8, 2001, of the European Commission, four samples of at least 5 cm2 and a maximum thickness of 5 mm each were taken from each carcass and on five carcasses. The sampling sites were the neck, thigh, shoulder and flank. Using a 2.5 cm diameter punch, forceps and a disposable blade mounted on a scalpel handle, the samples were taken after dressing by the excision method (destructive method). The 4 samples were aseptically placed in a pre-identified stomacher bag, sealed and placed in a cooler and then transported under cool conditions (4°C) to the laboratory for analysis on the same day.

Germ determination technique: The preparation of the stock solution and the different dilutions, the inoculation of the culture media and the bacterial enumeration was carried out according to the method described previously by Salifou et al.7.

Each germ was searched following its specific ISO standard. Thus, TVC was sought according to ISO:4833-1:2013 (Table 1), Salmonella according to ISO 6579-1:2017 (Table 1) and Enterobacteriaceae according to ISO 6888-3:2003 (Table 1). E. coli was determined according to ISO 7251:2005 (Table 1).

The results were expressed in log CFU cm2 of meat sampled for quantitative investigations and in absence or presence for Salmonella. The results in log daily average were assigned to one of the following three categories: Satisfactory (result below minimum), acceptable (result between the minimum and maximum) and unsatisfactory (result above maximum) according to the European Union Commission Regulation (http://data.europa.eu/eli/reg/2005/2073/oj). The minimum concentration for the TVC is 3.5 log CFU cm2 and the maximum is 5 log CFU cm2. For Enterobacteriaceae, the minimum concentration is 1.5 log CFU cm2 and the maximum is 2.5 log CFU cm2. For Salmonella, the result is satisfactory if at most 2 out of 50 tests are positive and unsatisfactory if more than 2 out of 50 tests are positive.

Nutritional quality of burnt and stripped sheep meat: Chemical analysis were carried out on meat samples from 40 female Sahelian sheep selected among the animals and declared healthy by the inspection service of the Cotonou slaughterhouses. The animals were all slaughtered at the Cotonou slaughterhouse and were all between 2 and 3 years old. The age of the animals was determined from their date of birth or, if not available, from the dental table. Twenty were burnt and presented with the skin and 20 were stripped and therefore presented without the skin. The study focused on Sahelian ewes because they are mostly slaughtered in abattoirs and killings. They come from the Alibori and Borgou departments where they are grass-fed (Panicum maximum) and monitored daily.

Chemical analysis (dry matter, ash, lipid and crude protein content) were carried out on samples of Longissimus dorsi from each slaughtered animal. They were taken after slaughter and kept at -20°C until chemical analysis at the National Laboratory for Quality Testing of Metrology and Analysis (Cote d'Ivoire). The dry matter content of the meat samples was determined by AOAC8 procedures. A 10 g sample of each sample (cut into small pieces) was dried at 105°C in a ventilated oven till constant weight. The crude ash was determined by burning the previously dried samples in a muffle furnace at 550°C for 24 hrs8. Lipids were determined by direct extraction with Soxhlet petroleum ether for 7 hrs at 60°C according to the AOAC8 method. Crude protein was determined by the Kjeldahl method from the nitrogen content (N×6.25)8.

Statistical analysis: Statistical Analysis System (https:// support.sas.com/documentation.htlm) software was used for the statistical analysis. Various means were calculated by the Proc means procedure and compared two by two by the student t-test. The type of dressing and the sampling day were considered as factors of variation for the microbiological analysis and for the nutritional quality, only the type of dressing was used. The significance of each factor was determined by the F test performed by the Proc GLM procedure.

RESULTS

Hygiene of sheep slaughter processes: The Colony Forming Units (CFU) counted per sampled carcass are presented by dressing type in Table 2-4. From Monday to Sunday, the TVC varied per day from 3.97-5.65 log CFU cm–2 for stripped sheep and from 2.93-6.28 log CFU cm2 for burnt sheep. On Wednesday, it was higher (p<0.001) for burnt sheep carcasses while on Sunday, the opposite trend was observed in favour of stripped sheep carcasses (p<0.01). In general, the TVC of burnt sheep carcasses (5.10 log CFU cm2) was significantly higher (p<0.05) than that of stripped sheep carcasses (4.64 log CFU cm2) (Table 2). For Enterobacteriaceae, daily loads ranged from 2.37-4.49 log CFU cm2 for stripped sheep carcasses and from 3.30-4.54 log CFU cm2 for burnt sheep carcasses. This gives an average total load of 4.12±0.59 log CFU cm2 for burnt sheep carcasses. This load is significantly higher (p<0.001) than that of stripped sheep (3.41 log CFU cm2). Daily Enterobacteriaceae loads were significantly higher for sheep carcasses burnt on Wednesdays (p<0.05), Fridays and Sunday (p<0.001) (Table 3).

Based on the total vial count (TVC) and following the EU (2005) grid for the interpretation of microbiological test results in ruminant meat, the slaughter process of skinned sheep is unsatisfactory hygiene on Monday (TVC concentration higher than the maximum (5 log CFU cm2) required). On the other hand, the TVC concentrations obtained from Tuesday to Sunday for the carcass of stripped sheep is between the minimum (3.5 log CFU cm2) and the maximum from Tuesday to Sunday. Process hygiene is therefore acceptable these days. As for burnt sheep, the hygiene of the slaughter process is only acceptable on Thursday and Sunday. For the other days, it is unsatisfactory. On the other hand, for Enterobacteriaceae, all concentrations obtained from Monday to Sunday for both burnt and stripped sheep carcasses are above the maximum required (2.5 log CFU cm2).

For E. coli, loads ranged from 0.64-2.48 log CFU cm2 for the stripped and from 1.53-2.75 log CFU cm2 for the burnt.

Table 2: Bacterial load in log CFU cm2 of TVC counted per sampling day and per dressing type
Stripping
Burning
Days
Mean±SD
Interpretationβ
Mean±SD
Interpretationβ
Significance test
Monday
5.65±0.69a
Unsatisfactory
5.26±1.30a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Tuesday
4.91±0.19a
Acceptable
5.71±0.68a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Wednesday
3.97±0.10b
Acceptable
6.28±0.42a
Unsatisfactory
***
Thursday
4.46±0.54a
Acceptable
4.98±1.26a
Acceptable
NS
Friday
4.35±0.30a
Acceptable
5.32±0.68a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Saturday
4.92±0.93a
Acceptable
5.26±1.85a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Sunday
4.20±0.66a
Acceptable
2.93±0.15b
Acceptable
*
Overall mean
4.64±1.37a
-
5.10±0.74b
-
*
NS: Not significant, ***p<0.001, *p<0.05, Mean±SD: Mean±standard deviation, means of the same line followed by the same letter, do not differ significantly at the 5% threshold and β: According to EU regulation 2073


Table 3: Enterobacterial load in log CFU cm2 of counted per sampling day and by type of dressing
Stripping
Burning
Days
Mean±SD
Interpretationβ
Mean±SD
Interpretationβ
Significance test
Monday
4.30±0.14a
Unsatisfactory
4.15±0.24a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Tuesday
2.98±0.11a
Unsatisfactory
3.30±0.50a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Wednesday
3.53±0.46b
Unsatisfactory
4.30±0.41a
Unsatisfactory
*
Thursday
3.46±0.88a
Unsatisfactory
4.37±0.79a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Friday
2.77±0.48b
Unsatisfactory
4.54±0.62a
Unsatisfactory
***
Saturday
4.49±0.70a
Unsatisfactory
3.96±0.47a
Unsatisfactory
NS
Sunday
2.37±1.06b
Satisfactory
4.19±0.40a
Unsatisfactory
***
Overall mean
3.41±0.59a
-
4.12±0.92b
-
***
NS: Not significant, ***p<0.001, *p<0.05, Mean±SD: Mean±standard deviation, means of the same line followed by the same letter, do not differ significantly at the 5% threshold and β: According to EU regulation 2073


Table 4: E. coli count in log CFU/cm2/day and dressing type, by collection day and dressing type
Burnt sheep meat
Stripped sheep meat
Days
Mean±SE
Mean±SE
Significance test
Monday
2.48±0.31a
2.31±0.74a
NS
Tuesday
0.64±0.34a
1.53±0.80a
NS
Wednesday
1.53±0.69a
2.07±1.09a
NS
Thursday
1.60±1.01a
1.54±1.20a
NS
Friday
0.69±0.40b
2.68±0.19a
***
Saturday
1.20±0.55a
1.53±1.00a
NS
Sunday
1.94±0.61a
2.75±0.22a
NS
Overall mean
1.44±0.57b
2.06±0.91a
***
NS: Not significant, ***p<0.001, *p<0.05, Mean±SD: Mean±standard deviation and means of the same line followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 5% threshold


Table 5: Chemical characteristics of Longissimus dorsi of sheep by dressing type
Variables
Burnt sheep meat
Stripped sheep meat
Significance test
Dry matter (%)
22.89±2.13
23.81±2.84
NS
Ash (%)
0.83±0.03
0.952±0.07
NS
Protein (%)
20.14±1.37
17.16±1.08
***
Fat (%)
2.81±0.86
1.91±0.78
NS
NS: Not significant, ***p<0.001, Mean±SE: Mean±standard error and means of the same line followed by the same letter, do not differ significantly at the 5% threshold

From one type of dressing to another, E. coli count only varied significantly on Friday in the benefit of burnt sheep carcasses (p<0.001) (Table 4).

Salmonella was identified in only one sample out of the 35 samples analyzed for stripped sheep and in 7 samples out of the 35 analyzed for burnt sheep. For the duration of the study, slaughter hygiene was unsatisfactory for both stripped and burnt sheep. In addition, Staphylococcus aureus was identified in 3 of the 35 samples analyzed for stripped sheep and in 5 of the 35 samples analyzed for burnt sheep. The average bacterial load of samples containing Staphylococcus aureus did not vary from one dressing type to another (p>0.05). However, there was an increasing trend in favour of burnt sheep carcasses (3.99 log CFU cm2 versus 3.26 log CFU cm2 for stripped).

Nutritional quality of burnt and stripped sheep meat: The chemical characteristics of the meat of burnt and stripped sheep are presented in Table 5.

No significant difference was obtained in the dry matter, ash and lipid contents of Longissimus dorsi from burnt and stripped sheep. However, the protein content was significantly higher in Longissimus dorsi from burnt sheep (20.14%) than in Longissimus dorsi from stripped sheep (17.16%) (p<0.001).

DISCUSSION

The average TVC load of 4.67 and 5.10 log CFU cm2 obtained in the present study, respectively for stripped and burnt sheep are above those reported by Ncoko et al.9 on stripped sheep carcasses in South Africa (2.48-4.38 log CFU cm2) and Ali et al.10 in Sudan (2.9 log CFU cm2) on stripped sheep carcasses. However, the overall AFM average obtained in this study for stripped sheep carcasses is close to that obtained by Magdaa et al.11 on stripped sheep carcasses in Sudan (4.8 log CFU cm2). But, higher TVC loads were reported by Al-Hasan et al.12, who obtained an average load ranging from 8.39 and 8.58 log CFU cm2 on sheep and goat carcasses in Sudan. This author worked on stripped sheep carcasses. In addition, Adetunji and Odetokun13 obtained a TVC load of 14 log CFU cm2 on burnt goat carcasses in Nigeria. The average Enterobacteriaceae load obtained in this study for stripped carcasses (3.41 log CFU cm2) is in the range of 2.48-3.45 log CFU cm2 reported by Ncoko et al.9 and obtained on stripped sheep carcasses. However, these values are well below those obtained from burnt sheep carcasses (3.30-4.54 log CFU cm2) in the present study. The average Enterobacteriaceae load obtained on burnt carcasses is, nevertheless, similar to that obtained by Saad et al.5 on sheep carcasses in Egypt with no specification of the dressing method. For E. coli counts, the loads obtained in the present studies ranged from 0.64-2.48 log CFU cm2 and 1.53-2.63 log CFU cm2 on burnt and stripped sheep carcasses, respectively. In general, the high bacterial loads obtained on any working day indicate a lack of hygiene in the slaughter process already reported by Salifou et al.14 at the Cotonou slaughterhouse. These high levels of microbial contamination may be due to poor evisceration, poor hygienic management of both the work environment and the workforce handling the carcass. This contamination of carcasses occurs mainly during slaughter and dressing. It could be from various sources such as skin, intestinal contents, contact surfaces and handling by workers15.

Some significant differences obtained for the various germs searched for and from one dressing type to another are in favour of burnt sheep. However, logically, the heat brought by the fire during the hair burning should normally partially disinfect the animal's leather, which initially contains a certain load of microorganisms. This unexpected result is probably due to the poor hygienic production practices of the burnt sheep. Indeed, sanitary and hygienic conditions in slaughterhouses can have a direct influence on the microbial load, including TVC, Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli loads of the resulting carcasses11,13,16.

At the slaughterhouse in Cotonou, placing the carcasses of sheep on the ground after slaughter and after burning and washing them certainly causes further contamination. As for striped sheep, even if evisceration is occasionally carried out on the ground, the stripped animal is placed on its skin, which serves as a barrier against soil contamination. The presence of E. coli in the samples confirms the poor hygienic conditions and particularly faecal contamination. Hygiene defects certainly occurred during evisceration. To consider burning as a decontamination practice for the carcasses of small ruminants, preventive measures will have to be taken so that post-burning operations do not cause new contamination. The hygiene of the slaughter process should be reviewed for both burnt sheep and stripped cattle.

Chemical analysis of Longissimus dorsi generally reveals a tendency for higher lipid contents and higher protein content in favour of meat from burnt sheep. The opposite observation was made for dry matter and ash contents, which tend to be higher for stripped sheep meat. These findings are similar to those of Putra et al.17 on samples of meat from burnt or stripped goats. These results can be explained by the fact that the burning would have caused a start of cooking, which would have resulted in a slight loss of water from the burnt animals’ carcass. The loss of water probably carried away with it some soluble minerals and as a result, there is a concentration of nutrients in the meat. A similar finding was made by Sainsbury et al.18 based on chemical analysis of raw and cooked samples of Longissimus dorsi from sheep. Indeed, the results obtained by these authors reveal that uncooked sheep meat had lower protein and lipid contents (20.2 and 4.86%, respectively) compared to cooked meat (26.3 and 8.58%, respectively). Hafid and Meziane19 obtained higher contents (dry matter: 27.26%, ash: 1.07%, protein: 19.93% and fat: 4.12%) in Longissimus dorsi from local sheep in Algeria than those obtained in this study. Protein contents of 19.7% and lipid contents of 5% were obtained in raw sheep meat20. The lipid contents obtained in this study are low. They are because the sheep studied was raised on natural grazing land and fed only on grass.

CONCLUSION

A study on the hygienic quality of sheep meat showed that sheep slaughter practices at the Cotonou slaughterhouse result in high bacterial contamination of the carcasses. The hygiene of each slaughter process is unsatisfactory. The carcasses of slaughtered and burnt sheep are more contaminated than those of slaughtered and stripped sheep. The burning process causes cooking to begin, resulting in water loss and an increase in meat protein. The hygiene of each slaughtering process must be revised and regular process control must be instituted. To this end, operators must be trained on good practices in the meat industry to limit contamination risks caused by the introduction and handling of raw material.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

This study discovers the positive effect of dressing slaughtered sheep by burning on the protein content of the meat. This could be beneficial to consumers. The study will help researchers to explore the impact of the dressing method on the preservation of sheep meat over time. Furthermore, it will help the authors to propose ways to improve the dressing process of sheep in Benin to guarantee to the consumers satisfactory hygienic quality of the meat.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to thank the National Laboratory for Quality Testing of Metrology and Analysis of the Nangui Abrogoua University (Côte d'Ivoire) for the analysis of sheep meat nutritional quality.

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