Use of a slaughter hygiene indicator (Escherichia coli) to quantify the risk of human salmonellosis related to pork in Denmark – an approach for risk based meat control?

Set 12 2013

Use of a slaughter hygiene indicator (Escherichia coli) to quantify the risk of human salmonellosis related to pork in Denmark – an approach for risk based meat control?

Food chain information does not per se allow an effective distinction of herds according to shedding of Salmonella. Thus, no effective sorting of pigs at slaughter according to Salmonella risk is possible and hygiene improvement is the only effective mitigating tool so far at the slaughter. From a large study of 1906 slaughter pigs we quantified Salmonella and established quantitative hygiene data (E. coli) on pig carcasses (paired data) at slaughter. Based on the results, we found a positive correlation between level of E. coli and the prevalence of Salmonella positive carcasses. The odds ratio for Salmonella being present on the carcass was found to increase by 1.87 for every one log10 unit increase of E. coli found on the carcass. A simple Salmonella consumer risk model was constructed using the observed levels of E. coli contamination as input and the model, established a positive correlation between slaughter hygiene (E. coli) and consumer risk. Further, we analysed two years’ own control data on Salmonella (prevalence data) and E. coli (quantitative data) from four large slaughterhouses in Denmark and found a similar positive correlation between the E. coli level and the carcass prevalence of Salmonella. The aim of this study was to propose a principle for setting risk based hygiene targets on E. coli on carcasses at pig slaughter. As such we provide input to the discussion on how to develop a risk based meat control procedure, based on statistical process control.

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