Chapter 6 : Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

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This chapter provides an overall presentation of microbiological issues associated with all muscle foods, which is then followed by individual sections addressing, in sequence, specific spoilage and safety issues and their control for meat, poultry, and seafood. A spoiled food is not necessarily unsafe, if pathogens are absent; therefore, spoilage is considered an economic loss and can lead to loss of consumer confidence. It is important to continuously develop reliable methods for measuring freshness and quality, predicting the shelf life of their products, and for inspection purposes. The most important muscle food safety issues of current worldwide concern are the need to control traditional as well as new, emerging, or evolving pathogens, including those of increased virulence at low infectious doses or resistant to antibiotics or to food processing-associated stresses caused by physical factors (e.g., heat, cold, drying, and radiation) and chemical agents (e.g., acids, salts, and sanitizers). For microbial food safety, the practical issue is whether antibiotic-resistant pathogen strains are of similar or higher resistance to common food-processing treatments compared to sensitive counterparts, as higher resistance of antibiotic-resistant strains is of concern. Decontamination processes are applied to animals and carcasses through a variety of physical and chemical interventions. Additional interventions to help enhance food safety are applied during processing and include heating, chilling, freezing, drying, fermentation, use of chemicals as acidulants or antimicrobials, packaging, proper storage and distribution, and appropriate handling and preparation for consumption.

Citation: Sofos J, Flick G, Nychas G, O'Bryan C, Ricke S, Crandall P. 2013. Meat, Poultry, and Seafood, p 111-167. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch6
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