Food borne diseases, and more especially diarrheal diseases, are an important cause of morbidity and
mortality (WHO, 2007). Food borne diseases due to bacteria in the food usually manifest as episodes of
gastro-intestinal disease (South African DVS, 2007). Most of food borne illnesses occurring annually are
caused mainly by three bacteria; Campylobacter spp., nontyphoidal Salmonella serovars, and pathogenic
Escherichia coli, including E. coli O157:H7 (Zhao et al, 2001; Mead, 2004).
The prevalence of food borne pathogens and epidemiological knowledge of the extent, sources, and
causative factors that lead to food borne illness remain unknown in many parts of the world. In most
developing countries data are not collected on such a basis that an assessment of the amount of illness
or the causes can be made, but food borne illness is probably second only to malnutrition as the cause of
death among children (Lund et al, 2000).
In Mozambique the situation is similar to other developing countries. The risk of eating poultry meat from
formal and informal small scale producers processed in the formal abattoirs and at informal points of
slaughter is unknown. However, the diarrheal diseases remain an important cause of mortalities
according to data from the Mozambique National Ministry of Health. The objective of the study were to investigate and describe the value chains for small scale poultry
production in Maputo, indicating possible stages at which there was the risk of a hazard that would
influence the final product and estimate the magnitude of this risk by using microbiological risk
assessment in poultry meat. It included the informal and formal producers and processors. In the study
area it was estimated that only 40% of total poultry production was processed in the formally abattoirs.
The remaining 47% were sold live and 13% processed by informal processors at point of sale if the
customer asked for the fowl to be slaughtered.
The method used was participatory risk analysis. The participants included state veterinary services,
municipal health authorities, poultry farmers, poultry processors and vendors at live bird markets in
Maputo. To quantify the magnitude and nature of the risks, microbiological risk assessment was used on
water, equipment surfaces and hands of operatives (as a prerequisite to HACCP) and poultry carcases
(at identified CCP’s during the slaughter and dressing of fowls). Samples of poultry carcasses, water and
swabs from surfaces and hands of operatives, were taken from poultry farms, live bird markets and
poultry abattoirs. The samples were sent for laboratory examination where the tests included E.coli and
Coliform Count and Aerobic Plate Count to verify if the carcasses were produced in a hygienic manner
and if the poultry processing was controlled adequately.
The quality of the poultry carcasses collected from the three sectors was not satisfactory. Poultry meat
from formal abattoirs was not found to be much safer than meat purchased at live bird markets and farms
using informal slaughtering processes. To improve prerequisites, Hygiene Management Systems (HMS)
and Hygiene Assessment Systems (HAS), using an appropriate audit system tailored to the type of
processing (ie formal or informal) was proposed for all three value chains with a focus on critical control