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A risk and benefit assessment for visual-only meat inspection of indoor and outdoor pigs in the United Kingdom

Hill, Andrew, Brouwer, Adam, Donaldson, Neil, Lambton, Sarah, Buncic, Sava and Griffiths, Ian (2013) A risk and benefit assessment for visual-only meat inspection of indoor and outdoor pigs in the United Kingdom Food Control, 30 (1). pp. 255-264.

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The current system of post-mortem meat inspection, using typical macroscopic inspection techniques, is ineffective in identifying the most common foodborne illness hazards, e.g. Salmonella and Campylobacter. Therefore, there is a need to adopt a more appropriate, risk-based approach to meat inspection. One specific example of modifying traditional inspection techniques to represent a more cost-effective approach to meat inspection is the allowance in EC Regulation 854/2004 for pigs that have been reared under controlled housing conditions since weaning to only undergo a visual inspection. However, the definition of controlled housing excludes outdoor pig production, and hence the United Kingdom (UK) has yet to introduce this method of meat inspection into abattoirs because of the associated complications of having a large outdoor UK pig herd. Therefore, in the context of the UK Food Standards Agency's programme of work to modernise meat hygiene inspection, we have conducted a qualitative risk assessment to assess the comparative risks to public and animal health from allowing visual-only inspection of both indoor and outdoor pigs. In order for visual-only inspection to be of higher risk than traditional meat inspection, the sensitivity of detection of a hazard must significantly decrease under visual-only inspection. In addition, for outdoor pigs to pose a greater risk than indoor pigs, the hazard must be more prevalent in the former than the latter. From a large number of hazards originally identified as worthy of investigation, only one (porcine tuberculosis) was considered to be of significant public or animal health risk and would be less likely to be detected through visual-only inspection. Despite higher rates of porcine tuberculosis in outdoor pigs than indoor pigs, the relatively small number of additional heads/carcasses that are infected and would be missed by including outdoor pigs in visual-only meat inspection (compared to traditional meat inspection) would pose a negligible risk to public health and a negligible/very low risk to animal health/welfare. Hence, we concluded that the overall risk from all hazards to public health by transferring to a visual-only inspection method was assessed as negligible for all pigs.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Brouwer, Adam
Donaldson, Neil
Lambton, Sarah
Buncic, Sava
Griffiths, Ian
Date : March 2013
Funders : UK Food Standards Agency
DOI : 10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.04.031
Copyright Disclaimer : Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Risk assessment; Meat inspection
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 27 Jan 2020 15:30
Last Modified : 27 Jan 2020 15:30

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