The objective was to determine the microbial risks associated with condensation in harvest, fabrication, and ready-to-eat (RTE) meat processing environments. A total of 2281 samples were collected before and during operation from areas of visible condensation, overhead pipes, and dripping pans in three plants each season during a one-year period. Significant interactions between season and plant type were observed for nearly all microorganisms, resulting in counts that were generally higher in the summer compared to other seasons. Aerobic plate counts ranged from non-detectable to 3.7log cfu100mL -1 of condensation. Overall counts were so low that data had to be converted to results100mL -1. Coliforms and Enterococci were not detectable in most condensation samples. Yeast and mold averaged less than 3.0log cfu100mL -1 in all samples. Listeria spp. or Salmonella were each detected in only two samples. Condensation, present in harvest, fabrication, and RTE meat processing areas does not appear to contain microbial loads that will contaminate the product.
- Microbial risks