Visual-only meat inspection of pigs fattened outdoors: a food safety risk?

Set 12 2013

Visual-only meat inspection of pigs fattened outdoors: a food safety risk?

The primary purpose of meat inspection is to contribute to the production of safe food for human consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the implementation of modern, predominantly visual, inspection systems for carcasses from fattening pigs reared outdoors since weaning, in Great Britain (GB), would alter the risk to food safety. A combination of sources was used to inform a formal, mostly qualitative, risk assessment, based on Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) guidelines. These sources included: a retrospective analysis of meat inspection data; a field trial of visual inspection of pigs from non-controlled housing conditions; previous work, scientific literature and publically available information. It was concluded that the public and animal health risks associated with endocarditis changed from negligible to non-negligible (i.e. very low) and the risk of microbial contamination of carcasses may be reduced.

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