Meat and related products compose an important segment of Sri Lankan economy. Chicken meat production of the country in 2011 was estimated to be 11.76 MT with a recorded increase of 12% over the 2010 volume of 104.16 MT . Total value added meat products manufactured by further processing establishments amounted to 9,508.9 MT in the year, an increase of 17.6% over the 2010 volume of 8,083.45 MT.  Targeting on elevated production levels each year, high quality meat batches are expected to be produced in order to ensure uninterrupted supply of safe poultry and meat products.
Microbiological aspects play a great role in determining the safety of the product. Meat and related products are highly perishable and require stringent quality assessment processes throughout the manufacturing procedure. Animal slaughtering should be performed under extremely hygienic conditions as dirt, soil, body discharges and excreta from animals in holding pens act as primary sources of contamination during later stages of the operation. Major spoilage of organisms of meat include Acinobacter moraxella, Aeromonas, Alcaligenes, Flavobacterium, Pseudomonas,Enterobacteriaceae, Corynebacterium, Lactobacillus, Brochothrix thermosphcta, Bacillus spp., Micrococci, Staphylococci,Fecal Streptococci, while some genera such as Salmonella, E.coli, Camphylobacter jejuni- coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus cereus act as potential human pathogens.  Proper storage conditions should be provided in order to limit the growth of the pathogens. Handling, packaging and transportation are other important criteria of the manufacturing process that require strict quality monitoring.
The importance of monitoring microbiological quality is that microbial contamination influences shelf-life of refrigerated red meat. Although cool temperature slows the growth of pathogens and spoilage organisms in meat, it will not eliminate them unless validated interventions are practiced on raw material. Therefore, the meat industry continues to seek new and improved techniques to produce raw products that have low levels of spoilage bacteria and non-pathogenic bacteria. Although many conventional methods such as plating of microbes have had been practiced as gold-standard tests in many laboratories, such tests are time consuming (minimum turn-around time 7-10 days), laborious and usually require skilled workers to perform tests. Plating can frequently be confronted with non- culturable microbes, unusual biochemical reactions, fastidious growth requirements and lack of previous knowledge on organisms. Results generated by plating can therefore be erroneous, and sometimes might underestimate the resident bacteria due to lack of sensitivity. Other biochemical, serological and molecular tests are limited with regards to its scope and specificity.
Moving ahead of conventional techniques, 16s rRNA is becoming a current trend in microbiology accounting to its faster turnaround times, accuracy, test scope and data generation capability. 16s rRNA sequencing can identify the whole spectrum of known bacteria in 48 hours of runtime producing highly accurate results analyzing large quantities of samples. Based on next-generation test platform 16s rRNA sequencing deliver unmatched test sensitivity while distinguishing between the intragenic variations of closely related species. Relative abundances of microorganisms can also be measured using the technique which has helped scientists to perform in-depth analysis studies. Therefore, 16s rRNA testing is adopted as a laboratory favourite around the world, while a large number of published articles prove its claims. Developing 16s rRNA testing in a laboratory system would help the manufacturers to increase product quality/safety, while understanding the root causes and critical control points that contribute to microbial contamination of the product. With the new facility made available, highly accurate and sensitive data can be delivered faster, analyzing the complete microbial population present in a sample, without missing the track of even the smallest of the organisms.
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