There is increasing interest in effective decontaminationtreatments because healthy food-producing animals can harbor food-borne pathogens and complete prevention of contamination during slaughter can hardly be warranted. Thus we reviewed the available literature and appraised the antibacterialactivity of physical, chemical and biological interventions applied on cattlehides and beefcarcasses. Based on the evaluated studies, the efficacy of water sprayings, organic acids and their combinations was most frequently investigated for the decontamination of cattlehides and beefcarcasses. Most data originated from laboratory-based studies using inoculated samples and extrapolation of these results to commercial practices is restricted. Application of interventions at slaughter plants reduced the bacterial loads on hides and carcasses to some extent, but reductions were clearly lower than those obtained under laboratory conditions. Thus hot water, steam, acetic acid or lactic acid treatment mainly yielded bacterial reductions below two orders of magnitude on carcasses. Under commercial conditions, the use of multiple sequential interventions at different points during slaughter must also be considered in order to enhance the microbiological safety of carcasses. On the other hand, decontaminationtreatments always must be considered part of an integral food safety system.