Preharvest Management and Postharvest Intervention Strategies to Reduce Escherichia coli Contamination in Goat Meat: A Review

Animals (Basel). 2021 Oct 12;11(10):2943. doi: 10.3390/ani11102943.


Goat meat is the main source of animal protein in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa. Goat meat consumption has also increased in the US in the recent years due to the growing ethnic population. The digestive tract of goat is a natural habitat for Escherichia coli organisms. While researchers have long focused on postharvest intervention strategies to control E. coli outbreaks, recent works have also included preharvest methodologies. In goats, these include minimizing animal stress, manipulating diet a few weeks prior to processing, feeding diets high in tannins, controlling feed deprivation times while preparing for processing, and spray washing goats prior to slaughter. Postharvest intervention methods studied in small ruminant meats have included spray washing using water, organic acids, ozonated water, and electrolyzed water, and the use of ultraviolet (UV) light, pulsed UV-light, sonication, low-voltage electricity, organic oils, and hurdle technologies. These intervention methods show a strong antimicrobial activity and are considered environmentally friendly. However, cost-effectiveness, ease of application, and possible negative effects on meat quality characteristics must be carefully considered before adopting any intervention strategy for a given meat processing operation. As discussed in this review paper, novel pre- and post-harvest intervention methods show significant potential for future applications in goat farms and processing plants.

Keywords: E. coli; food safety; goat meat; postharvest intervention; preharvest management.

Publication types

  • Review