Meat Quality & Pathogenic Disease

The methods used to harvest and process meat over the past century has had significant changes in the meat industry. Line speed has significantly increased for beef, pork, sheep, poultry and fish which require a large understanding of the pre and post rigor processes that prevent defects (Barbut 2014). Machines are used to cut meats and replace traditional manual operators which is dangerous because these machines do not detect issues in size and quality. This meat goes straight into the market and can send out meat that is not suitable for consumption. As technology progresses, breeding and genetics contributes to greater meat  quality, which help the automated equipment as they are less likely to send out meat containing pathogenic diseases. In 2015, 55 people were exposed to a large outbreak of the E.coli virus that was linked to the meat in Chipotle Mexican Grills (CDC 2016). 21 of the 55 people were hospitalized as this was detrimental to their overall health and showed how big of an impact this virus can really have on fast food consumers.

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The pathogen E.coli in a petri dish

In the fast food industry, health concerns are an important problem when it comes to consumer safety. Pathogenic microorganisms have the ability to grow on food if proper precautions are not taken. The foodborne pathogen E.coli is a large concern as it is very easy to develop in meats if they are not preserved the right way, even in developed countries like the United States (Yang et al. 2017). Meats that are not cooked right and not sanitized can contain E.coli, but it is preventable. This is a huge public health complication and can lead to large economic losses and detrimental effects to the welfare of people who are exposed to it. Contracting E.coli leads to diarrhea diseases which can lead to death from dehydration in children years five and under. Globally, 760,000 children a year die just from the effects of diarrhea diseases and there are approximately 1.7 billion cases every year. E.coli outbreaks can be controlled easily with sanitation and preparation of foods correctly and can be treated with antibiotics if contracted, but for some people this is unattainable. Food supply chains  that are infected with E.coli have the ability to effect all ranges of people, from the farm, to restaurants and to markets and can create serious damages to whole communities.

Works Cited:

Barbut, Shai. “Review: Automation and Meat Quality-Global Challenges.” Meat Science, vol. 96, no. 1, 2014, pp. 335–345.

Yang, Shih-Chun, et al. “Current Pathogenic Escherichia Coli Foodborne Outbreak Cases and Therapy Development.” Archives of Microbiology, vol. 199, no. 6, 2017, pp. 811–825.

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