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Int J Food Microbiol. 2001 Nov 8;70(3):243-54.

Salmonella in slaughter pigs: prevalence, serotypes and critical control points during slaughter in two slaughterhouses.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Food Chain Quality, Institute of Animal Science and Health, Lelystad, Netherlands.


The purpose of this study was to show the distribution of Salmonella in slaughtered pigs and the environment of the slaughterhouse. 1,114 samples of slaughtered pigs (six different samples for Salmonella isolation and one serum sample for ELISA on antibodies per pig) and 477 samples of the slaughterhouse environment were collected in two slaughterhouses on two sampling days per slaughterhouse. Salmonella was isolated from one or more samples of 47% of the pigs. The highest prevalence of Salmonella was observed in rectal content samples (25.6%), whereas the lowest prevalence of Salmonella was observed on the carcasses (1.4%). The prevalence of Salmonella in other samples was: 19.6% in tonsils, 9.3% on livers, 9.3% on tongues, and 9.3% in mesenterial lymphnodes. The prevalence of Salmonella in environmental samples was high in the drain water samples in both slaughterhouses (61%) and on the carcass splitter in one slaughterhouse (33%). Salmonella typhimurium was the most frequently isolated serotype in pig samples and environmental samples in both slaughterhouses: 43% of the Salmonella isolates from pigs and 33% of the Salmonella isolates from the environment was S. typhimurium. The results of this study show that Salmonella prevalences in pigs differ a lot, depending on which part of the pig is sampled. Not all different samples of the pig will become available for human consumption, but collecting more than one sample per pig showed that Salmonella can be found in almost the whole pig. The result of surface samples of carcass and liver gives information about hygiene during the slaughter process; the result of tonsils, lymphnodes and rectal contents, combined with the serological result, gives information about infection of the pig before the slaughter process (on the farm, during transport or in lairage). It can be concluded that results of Salmonella isolation of slaughter pigs should always be carefully interpreted, depending on the type of sample that has been collected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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