Assessment of pathogen burden in market ready lamb, sheep, goat and pork in Ontario

Lead Applicant: Shu Chen

Research Priority: Food Safety

Program Type: Tier 1

Funding Cycle: 2023/2024

Research Centre: NA

Research Summary: Market-ready lamb, sheep, goat and pork meat can carry pathogens due to contamination during processing and human handling. The risks associated with these meats have been highlighted by numerous food-borne outbreaks worldwide. In Ontario, the burden of key pathogens in market-ready meat from these animal species is relatively unknown. This study will survey whole cuts and ground meats from lamb/sheep, goat and pork for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), E. coli O157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter, Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii, generic E. coli, total bacterial load, as well as overall bacterial compositions on a subset of high-risk samples. The surveillance results will fill an information gap regarding the microbiological burden in market-ready lamb, sheep, goat and pork products sold in Ontario and will be shared with stakeholders to support risk assessment and food safety initiatives.