Meat safety and hygiene are fundamental issues for producers and endusers. To achieve these goals, the inspection of carcasses and organs at slaughter is critical. The results of post-mortem inspection are the basis for planning preventive measures against consumer risks and for limiting economic losses. In this retrospective study, the causes of the seizure and destruction of carcasses and organs were analysed at a slaughterhouse in central Italy from 2010 to 2016. 436,646 slaughtered animals were taken into consideration, for a total of 61,799 seizures (73.29% pigs, 23.87% cattle, 2.77% sheep and 0.07% horses). The organs or groups of organs that most frequently showed lesions in pigs were liver (72.38%), heart (10.77%) and pluck (10.20%); in cattle, lungs (64.86%), liver (31.20%) and stomachs (11.63%); in sheep, liver (77.15%), pluck (18.70%) and lung (3.80%); in horses, liver (75.56%), kidney (68.89%) and lung (31.11%). Among the diagnoses, parasitic diseases of the liver (ascariasis and distomatosis) were especially frequent in all species, followed by pericarditis and polyserositis in pigs and diseases affecting the respiratory system in cattle. The data obtained show that post-mortem inspection is of fundamental importance for limiting risks for the consumer and ensuring meat safety. It is also evident, even more than ten years after the coming into force of the so-called hygiene package regulations, that the slaughterhouse can still act as an epidemiological observatory to provide the data needed for the development of plans for the control and eradication of the most frequent diseases in the area.
Slaughterhouse, Inspection, Seizure of carcasses