The purpose of this study was to determine the numbers and species of enterococci encountered on pork carcasses during different stages in the slaughter process as well as on pork products. Three hog slaughtering plants were surveyed, each 3 times at four processing points. Each hog was swabbed at two sites on the carcass. Specimens were plated on two different enterococcal media, KF streptococcal agar and fluorescent gentamycin-thallous-carbonate agar. Retail and spoiled pork sausage products also were examined. Isolates were speciated by using the API Rapid Strep and Baxter MicroScan Pos ID panels. Contamination levels varied between plants as the carcasses progressed down the processing line; the highest counts were obtained directly before packaging in plants A and C. The highest count for plant B occurred at the first stage of sampling. More Enterococcus faecalis than Enterococcus faecium were isolated from the pork carcasses. Pork sausage results also are presented. Enterococci are useful as an indicator of pork sanitation and to detect critical control points during processing. In some instances, high levels of enterococci are associated with spoilage of pork sausage.

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