Effects of post-mortem inspection techniques change on the detection capability of low public health impact diseases of slaughtered pigs: A quasi-experimental study

Submitted: 27 July 2022
Accepted: 22 November 2022
Published: 13 December 2022
Abstract Views: 489
PDF: 210
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Slaughtered animals are regularly submitted to post-mortem inspection to ensure that all the edible parts are fit for human consumption. According to Regulation (EU) No 219/2014, pig carcasses inspection is exclusively visual as palpation and incision could lead to cross-contamination and spread of relevant zoonotic agents. However, when compared to incision and palpation, the visual method is characterized by low sensitivity; thus, the omission of incision and palpation could lead to a reduced detection capability of organic lesions. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of exclusively visual inspection to mark pulmonary and hepatic lesions associated with low public health impact diseases in pork carcasses. A quasiexperimental- before/after research protocol has been used. All the post-mortem inspections have been carried out in a slaughterhouse located in the province of Teramo (IT), on 7,764 swine from 2011 to 2017. Carcasses undergone the only visual inspection have shown a statistically significant reduction (pvalue <0.0001) in the diagnosis of hepatic (decrease of 59%) and pulmonary diseases (decrease of 38. 5%). To overcome the limits of the low sensitivity of the visual inspection, as well as the inter-operator diagnostic variability, the high number of carcasses examined is proposed as a factor conferring external validity to the study, which provides quantitative evidence in support of the causal association between the modified inspection technique and the reduced diagnostic capacity. A further support derives from the assessment of the prevalence of hepatic and pulmonary diseases in species for whom the inspection technique is not changed.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Berends BR, Van Knapen F, Snijders JM, Mossel DA, 1997. Identification and quantification of risk factors regarding Salmonella spp. on pork carcasses. Int J Food Microbiol 36:199-206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1605(97)01267-1
Blagojevic B, Antic D, 2014. Assessment of potential contribution of official meat inspection and abattoir process hygiene to biological safety assurance of final beef and pork carcasses. Food Control 36:174-82. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.08.018
Dupuy C, Demont P, Ducrot C, Calavas D, Gay E, 2014. Factors associated with offal, partial and whole carcass condemnation in ten French cattle slaughterhouses. Meat Science 97:262-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.02.008
Cecchetto M, Ruffo G, 2011. Appropriatezza dei controlli ufficiali condotti ai sensi del Reg. (Ce) n. 854/2004. Proposta operativa per la valutazione di adeguatezza e produttività delle risorse umane impiegate nei servizi di igiene degli alimenti di origine animale delle ASL. Rassegna di Diritto, Legislazione e Medicina Legale Veterinaria, 10:1.
European Commission, 2004. Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption, 854/2004/CE. In: Official Journal, L 155/206, 30/04/2004.
European Commission, 2014. Commission regulation (EU) of 7 March 2014 amending Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the specific requirements for post-mortem inspection of domestic swine, 219/2014/EU. In: Official Journal, L 69/99, 8/03/2014.
European Food Safety Authority, 2005. Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards on “Risk assessment of a revised inspection of slaughter animals in areas with low prevalence of Trichinella”. The EFSA Journal 200:1-41. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2005.200
European Food Safety Authority, 2011a. Scientific Opinion on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat (swine). EFSA Journal 9:2351. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2351
European Food Safety Authority, 2011b. Scientific Report on Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for public health hazards to be covered by meat inspection of swine. EFSA Journal 9:2371. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2371
European Food Safety Authority, 2013a. Modelling the impact of a change in MI sensitivity on the surveillance of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) at the country level. EFSA Supporting Publications 10:450. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/sp.efsa.2013.EN-450
European Food Safety Authority, 2013b. Scientific Opinion on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat from sheep and goats. EFSA Journal 11:3265. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3265
European Food Safety Authority, 2016. The European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2015. EFSA Journal 14:4634. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2016.4634
Fosse J, Seegers H, Magras C, 2008a. Foodborne zoonoses due to meat: a quantitative approach for a comparative risk assessment applied to pig slaughtering in Europe. Vet Res 39:1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/vetres:2007039
Fosse J, Seegers H, Magras C, 2008b. Prioritising the risk of foodborne zoonoses using a quantitative approach: application to foodborne bacterial hazards in pork and beef. Rev Sci Tech 27:643-55. DOI: https://doi.org/10.20506/rst.27.3.1826
Gamble HR, Brady RC, Dubey JP, 1999. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in domestic pigs in the New England states. Vet Parasitol, 82:129-36. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(99)00004-7
Garippa G, Battelli G, Cringoli G, Giangaspero A, Giannetto S, Manfredi MT, 2004. Aggiornamenti epidemiologici sull’echinococcosi animale in Italia. Parassitologia 46:33-8.
Harris AD, McGregor JC, Perencevich EN, Furuno JP, Zhu J, Peterson DE, Finkelstein J, 2006. The Use and Interpretation of Quasi-Experimental Studies in Medical Informatics. J Am Med Informat Assoc, pp 13-16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1197/jamia.M1749
Hill A, Brouwer A, Donaldson N, Lambton S, Buncic S, Griffiths I, 2013. A risk and benefit assessment for visual-only meat inspection of indoor and outdoor pigs in the United Kingdom. Food Control 30:255-64. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.04.031
Nesbakken T, Eckner K, Hoidal HK, Rotterud OJ, 2003. Occurrence of Yersinia enterocolitica and Campylobacter spp. in slaughter pigs and consequences for meat inspection, slaughtering, and dressing procedures. Int J Food Microbiol 80:231-40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1605(02)00165-4
Oksanen A, Siles-Lucas M, Karamon J, Possenti A, Conraths FJ, Romig T, Wysocki P, Mannocci A, Mipatrini D, LaTorre G, Boufana B, Casulli A, 2016. The geographical distribution and prevalence of Echinococcus multilocularis in animals within the European Union and adjacent countries: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Parasites Vectors 9:519. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1746-4
Otero-Abad B, Torgerson PR, 2013. A Systematic Review of the Epidemiology of Echinococcosis in Domestic and Wild Animals. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7:2249. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002249
Schleichera C, Scheriaua S, Kopackaa I, Wandab S, Hofrichtera J, Köferb J, 2013. Analysis of the variation in meat inspection of pigs using variance partitioning. Prev Vet Med 111:278-85 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2013.05.018
Shardell M, Harris AD, El Kamari SS, Furuno JP, Miller RR, Perencevich EN, 2007. Statistical analysis and application of Quasi Experiments to antimicrobial resistance intervention studies. Clin Infect Dis 45:901-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/521255
Stärk KDC, Alonso S, Dadios N, Dupuy C, Ellerbroek L, Georgiev M, Hardstaff J, Huneau-Salaün A, Laugier C, Mateus A, Nigsch A, Afonso A, Lindberg A, 2014. Strengths and weaknesses of meat inspection as a contribution to animal health and welfare surveillance. Food Control 39:154-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.11.009
Ostertag R von, 1905. Handbook of meat inspection. 2nd ed. Jenkins, New York, NY.

How to Cite

Villani C, Piccioni R. Effects of <em>post-mortem</em> inspection techniques change on the detection capability of low public health impact diseases of slaughtered pigs: A quasi-experimental study. Ital J Food Safety [Internet]. 2022 Dec. 13 [cited 2024 Jul. 13];11(4). Available from: https://www.pagepressjournals.org/ijfs/article/view/10761