One of the risks for contamination of edible product in the pre-inspection area of processing lines in meat plants is cross contamination. This can occur directly as a result of carcass-to-carcass contact or indirectly via knives or the hands of butchers. Standard procedures require that operators rinse their hands and knives to remove any visible contamination. In New Zealand, protective gloves are not allowed in the pre-inspection area because they are considered a potential risk for cross contamination until the carcasses have passed the final meat inspection. However, the risk of injury to the bare hands is as high in this area as in other parts of the plant, where such gloves are permitted. There is therefore a need to evaluate the risk of bacterial cross contamination via bare hands and via protective gloves. The present study compared bacterial adherence to bare hands and to gloves after rinsing for 5 s in a shower of water at 40°C and after rinsing gloves in hotter water (60°C) following simulated contact with the hide of a recently slaughtered animal. Under laboratory conditions there were no statistically significant differences between bacterial adherence to bare hands or to gloves rinsed in water at 40°C or 60°C. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
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