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Cleaning and sanitation are an integral part of slaughtering and handling of meat and should already be taken into consideration at the planning and construction stage of slaughter facilities.

1.1 Actual conditions

Cleaning and sanitation in slaughterhouses in developing countries will be difficult to apply as a single programme because developing countries may differ concerning:

In cases where the supplies for cleaning are insufficient, the cleaning programme has to be planned accordingly. Even processing should be planned according to the cleaning supplies available. If sufficient supplies are available, the cleaning programme may be planned according to buildings, processing equipment, required hygiene level, economy etc.

Frequently there will be cultural and religious traditions concerning hygiene and cleaning, and even processing, which will differ from area to area. Traditions are based on actual conditions and may when evaluated - need some adjustment to assure the required level of hygiene. These local traditions may not be described anywhere and therefore local authorities, aware of these traditions, will be responsible in assuring the required hygiene level. The combination of this knowledge may result in solutions other than those used in developed countries. These solutions may already exist but have not yet been described.

1.2 Organization

The organization of the meat plant may also depend on local traditions, making it impossible to give advice covering all situations.

In smaller public slaughterhouses, owned by the municipalities, there will often be a manager and no specific staff (see Fig. 1), slaughterings being carried out by local butchers and their working teams. In these situations it will be difficult to give any training to workers on hygiene and cleaning. Slaughterhouses of this type are difficult to manage because there may be several working teams in one day with varied experience in hygiene slaughtering and working conditions (see 2.3).


Fig.1. Organization of smaller municipally-owned slaughterhouses

Large slaughterhouses have permanent staff which perform all kinds of work. When the staff are permanent, they can receive some training in process hygiene, personal hygiene and cleaning and disinfection.

The slaughterhouses/slaughter facilities should be supervised by government or local authorities. It is recommended that a permanent staff be selected and that they work under a qualified manager. There should also be a meat inspector - independent of the manager and economic interests - who is responsible to the local or governmental veterinary or health authorities.

Ideally the staff should consist of two groups (see Fig. 2), consisting of a slaughtering team and a cleaning team.

Organization of the slaughtering team will not be described in this publication.


Fig. 2. Organization of larger slaughterhouses with permanent staff

The cleaning team can operate during processing and during breaks etc. and the whole cleaning team should clean the entire area after processing.

When the staff is organized as shown in Fig. 1 it will be possible to give the staff a basic knowledge in processing and cleaning hygiene (see 2.7). The staff may even be trained in practical procedures. However, this may be difficult to practise in smaller slaughterhouses.

Responsibility for specific duties should be clearly set out for all the staff. It may be advisable to give a few persons the main responsibility for specific tasks and let these persons delegate the responsibility for smaller duties to an individual.

1.3 Communication

When organized as in Fig. 1 communication may be a problem between the manager and the butchers and their teams. Even if organized as in Fig. 2, problems may arise in communication between the manager and the groups of staff.

Procedures must be established which will assure sufficient communication between the different groups. Some of this communication could be used for training purposes but it could also be of an informal character to ensure that everybody is sufficiently informed about the running of the slaughterhouse.

The problems which may arise concerning organization, communication and training will in principle be the same for rural slaughterhouses as for large exporting slaughterhouses, although the solution to these problems will be even more important when the staff is large.

The attainment of a good hygiene and cleaning standard depends on the knowledge of hygiene, processing and cleaning techniques, including personal hygiene. Furthermore, success will also depend on the ability to manage the staff regarding these subjects.

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