Determination of Microbiological Hazards and Critical Control Points in Regional Rabbit Processing Facilities

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2004: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Grant Recipient: Alabama A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Leonard Williams
Alabama A&M University


  • Animals: rabbits


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research

    Proposal abstract:

    Determination of Microbiological Hazards and Critical Control Points in Regional Rabbit Processing Facilities Leonard L. Williams and Cornelius Howard Food safety is a major concern to consumers. Loss of human life and economic losses are astronomically high due to food borne pathogens. Processed meats are responsible for numerous outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes. To prevent the potential of food borne illness caused by inadequate processing of meats, USDA/FSIS has deemed it important for the implementation of US regulations requiring plant operations under the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and adherence with current regulatory criteria for pathogen reduction in foods and meat processing plants, including emerging or non-amendable (exotic) meat products. Therefore this proposed project is aimed at developing a hazard analysis critical control (HACCP) system for processing of whole rabbit carcasses and to identify potentially pathogenic microorganisms that may be present on processed rabbit carcasses, so that barriers can be put in place in the processing line to minimize the likelihood of such organisms surviving or multiplying to levels which may limit product acceptability. Microbial testing and total viable counts at 4° C and 14° C will be conducted to determine the presence of coliforms (C. jejuni, L. monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, S. enteriditis, Y. enterocolitica and C. perfringens) at different sampling points will include stunning and decapitation, evisceration, cleaning and chilling to determine critical control points (CCPs). Finally, generic HACCP plans with completed and verified flow diagrams will be created. HACCP plans generated in this study will be useful in ensuring food safety of processed rabbit products.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall objectives of this study is to ensure the overall food safety of processed rabbit meat and developing generic HACCP plans based on microbiological surveys.

    The objectives for achieving the goals are to:

    1.Conduct microbiological and food safety surveys.

    2.Develop generic hazard analysis critical control plans (HACCP) for rabbit processing.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.