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J Food Prot. 2012 Sep;75(9):1580-8. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-515.

Longitudinal dissemination of Salmonella enterica clonal groups through the slaughter process of Salmonella-positive pig batches.

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  • 1Departamento de Medicina VeterinĂ¡ria Preventiva, Faculdade de VeterinĂ¡ria, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


This study was conducted to assess the dissemination of Salmonella clonal groups in slaughterhouses that received batches of Salmonella -positive pigs and used different routine processing procedures. Eight serial sampling sessions were conducted in three slaughterhouses (A, B, and C). Blood was collected randomly (n = 25) from each batch of pigs and processed for serology. Carcasses (n = 12) were identified and sampled after dehairing, after singeing, after evisceration, and before chilling. A section of cecum also was collected. Salmonella isolates were submitted to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The overall seroprevalence of Salmonella was 80.6% (316 of 392 samples), and cecal contents were positive for Salmonella in 23.8% (26 of 109) of the pigs sampled. Carcasses after dehairing had a significantly higher prevalence of Salmonella (P = 0.004) and the highest Salmonella levels (median = 0.26 log CFU/300 cm(2)). The singeing step significantly affected the Salmonella status of the carcasses (P = 0.001); however, the efficacy of singeing differed among slaughterhouses. In the prechilling step, 14.7% (16 of 109) of the carcasses were positive for Salmonella. Salmonella pulsotypes found on the prechill carcasses were also found in the lairage, in the cecal contents, and on carcasses after dehairing, suggesting that the main source of contamination was the slaughter process before singeing. Slaughterhouse C was the most likely (odds ration [OR] = 6.51) to have pigs carrying Salmonella in the gut, and slaughterhouse B was the most likely (OR = 14.66) to have contaminated carcasses at the prechilling step. These findings indicate that the procedures adopted in slaughterhouse B contributed to the spread of Salmonella strains. In contrast, in slaughterhouse C the Salmonella strains carried by the pigs or found in the lairage were not recovered from prechilled carcasses, validating the effectiveness of the slaughterhouse interventions. These results indicate that an effective slaughter process can help decrease the number of Salmonella-positive carcasses in slaughterhouses that receive Salmonella-positive pig batches.

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