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Assessing microbiological quality of fresh chicken meat in some retail shops in the

northern districts of Mauritius


Chicken meat is rated as one of the most consumed meat in Mauritius. According to a
survey carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture of Mauritius, the production of poultry
increased by 9.0% from 33,000 tonnes in 2005 to 36,000 tonnes in 2006*. Therefore, it is
imperative for the concerned parties supply fresh meat to provide safe and quality
products to the population. The number of retail outlets supplying the above stated
product is increasing gradually. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health, through the sanitary
department has sentenced 428 parties not complying with the basic food hygiene
principles, out of 471 contraventions for the year 2005**. There has been increased of
about 64 % of sentenced cases as compared to the previous year***. Although it appears
not frightening, nevertheless, it is a fact that the basic ethics are not thoroughly respected.
Finally, the cases of food borne illnesses are not reported accurately.

The concern
Now, the control of this highly consumed product which is poultry should be controlled
right in its fresh state. This is why; assessing its microbiological quality should be carried
in the retail shops. Very few cases have been reported on food intoxification as regard to
poultry. Several reasons account for this, the 3 major ones are: the lack of routine
detection of food pathogens, lack of education of the consumer or proper cooking of the
fresh meat.

Aim and objectives

The primary objectives of this study are:
1.To evaluate the microbial load of food pathogens (Feacal Coliforms. total Coliforms
and Staphylococcus aureus) that could be found in such products.

Assessing microbiological quality of fresh chicken meat in some retail shops in the
northern districts of Mauritius
2.To evaluate the total viable count in the sampled products.
3.To confirm presence or absence of Salmonella species.
4.To compare the microbial load and presence of Salmonella with the actual regulation
or international convention as to food safety.
5.To carry out a survey on the hygienic practices in the retail outlets where the samples
will be originating from.
6.Compare the survey with the experimental results.
7.To show/present the result to the concerned parties and the risks that their consumers
might have in the near future.
8.Provide some recommendations to the concerned parties about measures to improve
their sanitary environment.

The sampling will be carried out in the northern districts for facilitation reasons.
The precise locations of these outlets will be evaluated by a statistical method.
ISO standards will be followed to sample, cultivate/isolate and enumerate the food
pathogens microbial load and the presence of the Salmonella species.

Each type of microorganism has a particular ISO standard which will be referred to. The
sampling, culture medium, confirmations test, incubations temperature and many other
useful specifications will be included.

The survey will made at the retail stores providing the samples. A structured
questionnaire of about 12-15 questions will be filled in place by myself. The
questionnaires will be pretested in some retail shops.

The results of the experiments and the survey will be compared and a relationship (or
not) will be established. The collected data will be analysed with help of the SPSS 13.0
and Microsoft Excel work

Assessing microbiological quality of fresh chicken meat in some retail shops in the
northern districts of Mauritius

Proposed time line

MONTH Work progress
SEPTEMBER 2007 Prepare and submit synopsis.
Make literature review and submit for
correction. consult professionals in
microbiology and sanitary officers.
Prepare questionnaires and location sampling
OCTOBER 2007 and NOVEMBER 2007 Pretest questionnaires and check all lab
equipments and media required.
Perform a primary set of test.
Obtain samples and start to evaluate
microbiological organisms and carry out the
Record all information and results
DECEMBER 2007 Assemble and compile all information
Analyze using SPSS and Excel
JANUARY 2008 Write discussion and conclusion.
FEBRUARY 2008 Print a draft and submit for correction.
MARCH 2008 Last revision, print and bind the dissertation and

*Agricultural and fish production, Year 2006, highlights, the Ministry Of Agriculture
**Basic Sanitation and Food Hygiene Statistics 2000 – 2005, the Ministry Of Health
***Pathological tests by category – 2005, the Ministry Of Health
***Pathological Tests (positivity rates) - 2003 – 2005, the Ministry Of Health