ESFA panel assesses salmonella risk from pigs

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pig, Risk management, Salmonella

An EFSA panel on risk assessment and mitigation options of
Salmonella in pig production has concluded that all salmonella
serovars from pork are to be regarded as public health hazards, and
that actions to prevent human food-borne infection should be
implemented throughout the food-chain.

The scientific panel BIOHAZ said in a document published yesterday that at present the most common serovar causing human infections in S. Typhumurium, but that significant outbreaks have been caused by other serovars.

Pork is thought to be the third most common source of food-borne salmonellosis in the EU, after eggs and poultry - although full country-by-country data is not available.

Total human cases of salmonellosis in the EU26, from all sources, were reported to be 192,703 in 2004.

In its opinion BIOHAZ said that control of salmonella is based on preventative measures throughout the whole production chain: from reduction of pathogen load in live pigs, through hygienic slaughter and dressing; to meat or carcass decontamination under the supervision of health authorities.

At retail and consumer level, risk mitigation includes hygienic handling and proper cooling and heating of pork and pork products.

"The options and procedures should be communicated to retailers and consumers,"​ it said.

The panel also set out two options for implementing monitoring schemes to detect and evaluate salmonella prevalence and exposure in pig production: immunology and bacteriology.

But whether one, the other, or a combination of the two us the best course of action depends on situation.

In general, immunology is more useful in screening samples from large numbers of animals, monitoring effectiveness of control programmes and establishing the immunological status of a population; bacteriology is more useful when determining the status of individual animals.

Moreover, bacteriology can help isolate the strain for identification, provide information about all serovars, describe the diversity of infections, enable antimicrobial sensitivity testing, and establish the salmonella-free status of herds.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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