An investigation of constraints and opportunities in setting up hygiene standards in Somalia meat export industry
The study, intervention, data collection and analysis lasted nearly five years from mid 2008 upto the end of 2012. It examined practices that should normally be undertaken to ensure hygiene production of meat. These include the design and layout of slaughterhouses, types of equipment used in slaughtering process and compliance with quality assurance systems, including Good Hygiene Practices (GHP), Sanitary Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Principles. The overall objective of this study was to investigate constraints and opportunities for introducing hygiene standards in export slaughterhouses in two administrative regions of Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland states). Data collection methodology involved quantitative and qualitative data collection which included swabbing of carcass surfaces, administration of a pre-tested questionnaire, transect-walks, organoleptic inspection and observations to assess the hygiene status of two slaughterhouses, (i.e. H- Foods in Somaliland and Mubarak II in Puntland states of Somalia) and carcasses produced. Additional data was obtained from secondary sources such as the internet and government documents. A total of 500 samples (250 from each slaughterhouse) were first collected from randomly selected carcasses of small ruminants (sheep and goats) from the two slaughterhouses, using a wet and repeated with a dry non-absorbent cotton wool swabbed in an area of 50 cm2 delineated by a sterile aluminium template. The swabs were later analyzed for total viable counts (TVC), E. coli counts and presence of Salmonella species, within 24-48 hours of sampling. Serotyping for the presence of E. coli 0157 sero-group was carried out on all E. coli isolates. Biochemical analysis of all suspected Salmonella species isolates was done for confirmation purposes. The second round of sample collection was only carried out from H-Foods export slaughterhouse whereby a total of 85 samples were collected. These were analyzed against TVC and E. coli only. Furthermore, a pre-tested questionnaire made up of 32 questions was administered to collect data on hygiene slaughtering and meat handling practices to identify meat contamination risk factors and critical control points (CCPs) during slaughtering process, meat storage and transportation to airstrips. H-foods export slaughterhouse complied with 92% of meat contamination risk factors while Mubarak II export slaughterhouse complied with only 46%. There was a statistical difference in the level of non compliance with the guidelines set for export slaughterhouses in Somalia. Based on these results, only 8% of the guidelines were not met in H-foods while in Mubarak II, the level of non compliance was 54%. This difference in level of non-compliance with export guidelines was statistically significant with Z = 4.92 which is higher than 1.96 for a normal distribution curve at, p-value < 0.05. Based on Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) standards, meat contamination levels were graded either as: -1) Excellent, 2) Good, 3) Fair, 4) Poor or 5) Very Poor for TVC and E. coli and Present or Absent for Salmonella species and E.coli 0157 sero-group. According to GCC standards, basing on TVC levels, only 0.4% of carcasses sampled from H-Foods export slaughterhouse were in poor grade, and therefore could have been potentially rejected in this study. Otherwise, 48.8% were in excellent grade, 48.0% were in good grade and only 2.8% were of fair grade. These could have been accepted in the GCC countries. On the other hand, no carcass from Mubarak II export slaughterhouse was of excellent grade, 11.6% were of good grade, 30.8% were of fair grade, 19.2% in poor grade and 24.4% in very poor grade. Based on E. coli counts, no sample from H-Foods export slaughterhouse could have been rejected. About 96.8% of the carcasses sampled were of excellent grade, 2.8% were of good grade and only 0.4% was of fair grade. From Mubarak II export slaughterhouse, 19.6% were of excellent grade, 21.2% were of good grade, 25.2% were of fair grade, 12.8% were of poor grade and 21.2% were of very poor grade. Furthermore, 13% of the 250 carcass samples collected from Mubarak II export slaughterhouse tested positive for salmonella species, but none from H-Foods export slaughterhouse was positive. The results proved true to the good hygiene meat handling practices (meat contamination risk factors) in H-Foods slaughterhouse and poor hygiene xx meat handling practices in Mubarak II slaughterhouse. None of the 500 samples were positive for E. coli 0157 sero-group. None of the 160 excision liver samples collected and analyzed for antibiotic (tetracycline) residues tested positive. Inferential analysis was done using general logistic regression. Carcasses from Mubarak II slaughterhouse were 264.4 (P-value < 0.001) times more likely to be contaminated as compared with carcasses slaughtered in H- foods slaughterhouse that were swabbed on second round of sample collection. Total viable counts (TVC) were 1.69 (P- value < 0.001) times more likely to contaminate carcass samples when compared with E. coli. However, none of the sampled sites had significantly higher level of contamination. In H-Foods export slaughterhouse, identified CCPs included carcass shrouding, chillers and transportation to airstrip whereas in Mubarak II export slaughterhouse, CCPs were found to be all along the livestock slaughter chain process including livestock receiving and holding in pens, slaughter (sticking), flaying, evisceration and storage in freezer transport trucks where carcasses were hanged on dirty re-used ropes. An overall net profit of USD 0.9 millions from H-foods was realized over a period of 6 years of operation and USD 0.64 millions was realized from Mubarak II export slaughterhouse over a period of 5 years it operated. The two slaughterhouses were still closed during the time of compiling this thesis. xxi The study established that a cost of USD 20,000 and 85,000 respectively, was required to in-cooperate HACCP compliance facilities and personnel training for H-Foods and Mubarak II export slaughterhouses respectively. Cost-benefit analysis showing a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 1.06 and 1.05 for H- Foods and Mubarak II slaughterhouses respectively revealed that rehabilitation of these establishments and training of personnel would be economically beneficial; further, it would take less than one year for H-Foods export slaughterhouse and more than one year for Mubarak II export slaughterhouse to recover their investment if the management incorporates HACCP compliant facilities and trainings of personnel. Opportunities of high demand of Somalia small ruminant carcasses in the Gulf Cooperative Countries was found remarkable. However, export of chilled carcasses face several challenges and constraints including stiff competition of meat by stronger exporters (e.g. Australia and Ethiopia), stiff competition from export of live animals from Somalia, poor animal body conditions due to cyclic drought and ban of cargo export from Somalia to GCC countries after some explosives were found on two cargo planes bound for America from Yemen. Training needs assessment revealed that abattoir workers required trainings in good hygiene meat handling and production practices, standard operating procedures, slaughterhouse waste management and environmental hygiene, sanitary standard operating procedures, and HACCP principles. On the other hand, the management and meat xxii inspectors should be taken through human resource management training. The meat inspectors need training on meat inspection procedures, disease surveillance, detection and management at slaughterhouses as part of relevant identified trainings. Several interventions in the two export slaughterhouses were conducted during the study, including training of non-technical and technical workers on good hygiene practices (GHP) and sanitary standard operating procedures (SSOP) as well as standard operating procedures (SOP), which are pre-requisite requirements for establishment of a HACCP system. However, the HACCP system was not implemented as the two slaughterhouses stopped operating due to force majeure. A recommendation of a total overhaul of the slaughterhouses’ infrastructure facilities to incorporate physical components that will promote more compliance with implementation of SSOP and HACCP system requirements is advisable. Personnel training in food safety system including GHP, SSOP, SOP, HACCP system, slaughterhouse environmental hygiene and waste management, human resource management with a focus to improve hygiene operation and standards in both slaughterhouses should be regular to mitigate high proportions of natural attrition and improve meat quality.