Maslanka M, Ward A. 2005. Microbiological and temperature evaluation as part of a comprehensive raw meat quality control program. In Graffam W, Hellinga D, Maslanka M, Ward A, Eds. Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Omaha, NE.
Raw meat and raw meat-based diets are potentially hazardous food items used to maintain zoo carnivores. It is important to monitor handling temperature of meat throughout the preparation process to insure it is maintained below the appropriate threshold temperature (4°C or 40°F). Handling raw meat below this temperature threshold minimizes growth of harmful microorganisms. Three frozen raw meat samples were tested for microbiological parameters at the Fort Worth Zoo. In addition, temperature was measured throughout the entire handling process for a single meat mix, and those data were paired with microbiological data from those samples to determine the influence of temperature. All initial samples tested were within specifications established for raw meat based diets. Even though temperatures went out of the range considered safe for raw meat handling, microbiological parameters tested remained within the acceptable range specified. However, due to potential lot to lot variation (not captured within this study), it is imperative to maintain temperatures within the goal range. It is important to not only monitor temperatures through meat handling processes, but also to monitor initial microbiological parameters as well as those throughout the entire handling process.maslankaMeatFINAL14Sept.04.pdf     170 KB