Date of this Version
Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 78, No. 1, 2015, Pages 89–96
Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella are significant foodborne pathogens that can be found in the feces and on the hides of meat animals. When hides are removed during the harvest process, the carcass and subsequent meat products can become contaminated. Camels, cattle, sheep, and goats are harvested for meat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella are unknown in these animals, and it is assumed that if the animals carry the pathogens in their feces or on their hides, meat products are likely to become contaminated. To this end, a minimum of 206 samples each from hides and feces of camels, cattle, goats, and sheep were collected over the course of 8 months and tested for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. It was found that E. coli O157:H7 was present in feces (10.7, 1.4, 2.4, and 2.4%) and on hides (17.9, 8.2, 2.9, and 9.2%) of cattle, goats, camels, and sheep, respectively. The prevalence of Salmonella was 11.2, 13.5, 23.2, and 18.8% in feces and 80.2, 51.2 67.6, and 60.2% on hides of cattle, goats, camels, and sheep, respectively. The prevalence of E coli O157:H7 was nearly zero in all samples collected in June and July, while Salmonella did not exhibit any seasonal variation. These results constitute the first comprehensive study of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella prevalence in Saudi Arabian meat animals at harvest.