Under the current EU meat inspection regulation, every single carcase from all bovines above 6 weeks of age has to be examined for bovine cysticercosis (BC). This is time-consuming, costly, and is of limited value in countries with low prevalence. The aim of this study was to develop a stochastic simulation model for analysis of tentative risk-based meat inspection systems for BC in Danish cattle with regard to system sensitivity (SSSe), specificity and potential monetary benefits compared to the current system, which has an estimated SSSe of 15%. The relevant risk factors used to construct three alternative scenario trees were identified from previous Danish risk factor studies (1) gender, (2) grazing and (3) access to risky water sources. Thus, females, animals that had been grazing or animals with access to risky water sources were considered high-risk and would be subjected to invasive inspection at meat inspection. All animals in the low-risk groups (i.e. males, non-grazing or no access to risky water sources, respectively) would be subjected to visual inspection only. It was assumed that half of the cattle were slaughtered in abattoirs that would be able to reorganise the work at the slaughterline, allowing them to do with one meat inspector less. All abattoirs would gain on the price of sold uncut beef from the masseter muscles from visually inspected cattle. Under these assumptions, using gender and grazing were preferable due to them having SSSe only slightly lower than the current system, and highest effectiveness ratios, but they had a lower net economic effect (NEE) than the scenario using risky water sources. Using gender to differentiate high and low-risk groups was judged preferable over grazing due to feasibility, because the information is readily available at the slaughter line. The exact total NEE for the cattle sector depends on how many and which of the abattoirs that would be able to reorganise the work at the slaughter line to save money on inspection of the head of carcases. Overall, the SSSe was low in all scenarios leading to undetected BC-positive cattle both in the current meat inspection and under the investigated risk-based meat inspection systems. Therefore, improving the sensitivity of the methods used for inspection of high-risk cattle would be beneficial.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2013, Vol 108, Issue 4, p. 253-261