Oral Presentation Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2019

Microbiological monitoring in the production of exported meat - assessing hygiene using the Product Hygiene Indicators Program (#57)

Mark A Salter 1
  1. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, CANBERRA, ACT, Australia

Australia has adopted Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point-based principles within the export meat regulatory system, requiring monitoring along the production and processing chain. An important monitoring tool within the Australian system is the Product Hygiene Indicators (PHI) Program. The PHI Program requires government and industry to undertake regular monitoring for microbiological indicators and macroscopic contaminants on carcases and boned meat. The program applies to production of meat from cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, horses, camels, ratites, kangaroos and wild boar. Data from approximately 80 export meat establishments are collected on a daily basis, and data from the program in its current form are available for over ten years. Therefore the PHI program contains a very large dataset that can be used to analyse both historical and contemporary performance of the industry. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources uses PHI data to assess industry performance and to communicate this to overseas markets.  Monitoring data are also used by meat establishments to chart their relative performance within the industry and to respond accordingly. Collection of data in the PHI Program is consistent with the growing international trend for greater reliance on performance monitoring to enhance traditional inspection and audit processes.The program was recently transtioned to the Meat Export Data Collection system, the department’s online performance database for export meat establishments. The new platform allows industry and government to analyse in real time the performance of individual meat establishments and the national system. This ensures the PHI Program continues to be a valuable tool for assessing the hygiene of Australian meat exports, contributing to process improvement and demonstrating the hygiene of our exported meat to importing countries.