Michael Wasmann, general manger for Aes Chemunex, Germany told FoodProductionDaily.com that the Bacti Flow Automatic Labelling System (ALS) enables real-time Total Viable Count (TVC) analysis of meat in-house, thus eliminating the need for processors to send samples to an external laboratory. "The equipment is comparable to the cost of external shipment analysis. However, the gains for the processor are in-process control and a testing time of 90 minutes as opposed to five days with the older method," said Wasmann. Leverage on quality TVC analysis of raw meat can indicate the presence of bacteria, yeast and moulds in the product before it enters and is accepted into production. "The tool also gives meat processors greater leverage with suppliers as they can determine the quality of the meat immediately following delivery and can then negotiate prices accordingly," added Wasmann. The Bacti Flow ALS has been widely used for microbiological testing of juice, dairy and fermented milk products. However, the company trialed and validated the tool as effective for usage with raw and final meat product analysis, following a demand from a meat processor in Germany, according to Wasmann. Tests on meat The company said that the equipment was successfully tested on raw product such as minced meat, pork, beef, turkey, deep frozen meat as well as final product such as ham, boiled sausages and smoked pork products. The Bacti Flow ALS offers high throughout with automated analysis of 23 to 48 samples per batch and up to 25 tests per hour, claims the manufacturer. The company claims that due to the use of flow cytometry technology only viable microorganisms are labelled, and as detection is cell by cell, microbial cell counts can be achieved without the need of any calibration curve or interpretation. Salmonella in pigs Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) yesterday published a survey on Salmonella levels detected in slaughtered pigs across the European Union in 2006-2007. Salmonella was estimated on average to be present in one in ten pigs slaughtered for human consumption (10.3 per cent), according to the report from an EFSA Task Force EFSA said that testing was based on a randomly selected sample drawn from slaughterhouses representing 80 per cent of the pigs slaughtered in each Member State. Levels for Salmonella detected in pigs varied from 0 to 29 per cent between Member States, according to the regulatory authority. Salmonella infection in slaughter pigs has the potential to translate into contamination of pig meat and lead to human disease. Salmonella is the second most reported cause of food-borne diseases in humans in Europe. EFSA said that safe handing of raw meat and thorough cooking are important measures to minimise human health risks from Salmonella contaminated pig meat.