This study was part of an international research project entitled SALINPORK (FAIR CT-950400) initiated in 1996. The objectives were to investigate the occurrence of Salmonella in pig slaughterhouses and to identify risk factors associated with the contamination of pig carcasses. Data was collected from 12 slaughterhouses in five European countries. Isolates were characterized by serotyping, phage typing and antimicrobial susceptibility. In one country, no Salmonella was found. Salmonella was isolated from 5.3% of 3485 samples of pork and from 13.8% of 3573 environmental samples from the seven slaughterhouses in the four remaining countries. The statistical analyses (multi-level logistic regression) indicated that the prevalence was significantly higher during the warmer months and that the environmental contamination increased during the day of slaughter. The polishing (OR 3.74, 95% CI 1.43-9.78) and pluck removal (OR 3.63. 95% CI 1.66-7.96) processes were found to contribute significantly to the total carcass contamination, the latter especially if the scalding water also was contaminated. To reduce carcass contamination, it is recommended to ensure sufficiently high temperatures of scalding water (62degreesC) and appropriate cleaning and disinfection of the polishing equipment at least once a day in order to reduce the level of carcass contamination and consequently the prevalence of Salmonella in pork.
Epidemiology and Infection, 2003, Vol 131, Issue 3, p. 1187-1203