Estimating animal abundance in industrial scale batches of ground meat is important for mapping meat products through the manufacturing process and for effectively tracing the finished product during a food safety recall. The processing of ground beef involves a potentially large number of animals from diverse sources in a single product batch, which produces a high heterogeneity in capture probability. In order to estimate animal abundance through DNA profiling of ground beef constituents, two parameter-based statistical models were developed for incidence data. Simulations were applied to evaluate the maximum likelihood estimate (MLE) of a joint likelihood function from multiple surveys, showing superiority in the presence of high capture heterogeneity with small sample sizes, or comparable estimation in the presence of low capture heterogeneity with a large sample size when compared to other existing models. Our model employs the full information on the pattern of the capture-recapture frequencies from multiple samples. We applied the proposed models to estimate animal abundance in six manufacturing beef batches, genotyped using 30 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, from a large scale beef grinding facility. Results show that between 411~1367 animals were present in six manufacturing beef batches. These estimates are informative as a reference for improving recall processes and tracing finished meat products back to source. © 2012 Hu et al.
Hu, X. S., Simila, J., Platz, S. S., Moore, S. S., Plastow, G., & Meghen, C. N. (2012). Estimating animal abundance in ground beef batches assayed with molecular markers. PLoS ONE, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034191