AIM/BACKGROUND: This retrospective study investigated the causes of beef carcass and organ condemnations and the associated financial losses at a high throughput abattoir in Katima Mulilo, Namibia from 2009 to 2013.
METHODS: Post-mortem meat inspection records from September 2009 to July 2013 that were kept at the abattoir were analysed.
RESULTS: Of the 26,957 cattle slaughtered during the study period, 59 whole carcasses, 13,884 livers, 13,161 lungs, 406 hearts, 33 kidneys, 265 pluck, 563 spleens, 163 heads, 160 tongues and 79 intestines were condemned. Whole carcasses were condemned mainly due to generalized Cysticercus bovis cysts (40.7%) and cachexia (39%). Among the organs, livers (51.5%) and lungs (48.8%) had the highest levels of condemnation. Liver flukes and hydatid cysts were responsible for most of the liver condemnations (65% and 17.1%, respectively), while hydatid cysts (63.4%) and abscesses (15.4%) were responsible for most of the lung condemnations. Fecal contamination (68.7%) and pericarditis (19.7%) were identified as a major cause of heart condemnations. Fecal contamination (43.6%, 32.5%), abscesses (41.7%, 45%) and C. bovis cysts (14.7%, 15%) were responsible for head and tongue condemnations, respectively. About 7.5% of the tongues were also condemned for floor contamination. Abscesses (49.4%), C. tenuicollis cysts (34.2%), nodular worm (13.9%) and floor contamination (2.5%) were responsible for condemnations of intestines. Fecal contamination (98.4%), floor contamination (0.9%) and splenitis (0.7%) were responsible for condemnations of spleens. Nephritis was the only recorded reason for the condemnation of kidneys. Total monetary losses due to carcass and organ condemnations over the study period were estimated at US$143,711.08. Although there was a 0.2% proportional condemnation of whole carcasses, these were responsible for 17.5% of the revenue losses (US$25,149.44). About 65.0% and 30.5% of the rest of the revenue losses were due to liver and lung condemnations, respectively. The rest of the causes were collectively responsible for only 3.71% of the overall revenue losses. Zoonotic parasites, C. bovis, fasciolosis and hydatid cysts were identified as the major causes of carcass and organ condemnations constituting a major public health concern.
CONCLUSION: Considering the size of the local economy, the revenue losses due to carcass and organ condemnations were quite high. This necessitates education of the stakeholders and the general public on the health and economic implications conveyed by this study.
Key words: beef abattoir; condemnations; causes; financial losses