The conditions of the county slaughterhouses of the western region of Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, were evaluated taken into account hygienic-sanitary aspects, the physical conditions of the facilities, the slaughter procedures, staff hygiene, atmosphere, equipment and utensils. Visits were made to each of 15 municipal slaughterhouses, where an epidemiological questionnaire was completed and an interview was made with the person in charge of the establishment. It was observed that 66.7% of the slaughterhouses were located in urban areas. In 80% of the establishments there was no routine sanitary inspection. The slaughterhouses did not follow the recommendations for humane slaughter. The whole slaughter procedure (stunning, bleeding, skinning and evisceration) was carried out on the floor of the slaughterhouses. In light of the findings, it was perceived that the hygienic-sanitary conditions were extremely precarious, and the physical facilities were inappropriate. The handlers of the meats did not comply with the minimum demands of hygiene. An important and neglectful problem of public health was evidenced, indicating that corrective measures should be implemented urgently by the relevant agencies and by the people in charge of the establishments.
Slaughter; hygienic aspects; county inspection; microbiological risk