Scientific Opinion on the public health risks related to the maintenance of the cold chain during storage and transport of meat. Part 1 (meat of domestic ungulates)

carcass chilling, Salmonella, Escherichia coli (VTEC), Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, time-temperature integration, transport
First published in the EFSA Journal
27. März 2014
6. März 2014
Last Updated
12. Juni 2014. This version replaces the previous one/s.
Scientific Opinion


Salmonella spp., verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC), Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica are the most relevant microbial pathogens when assessing the effects of beef, pork and lamb carcass chilling regimes on the potential risk to public health. Moreover, as most bacterial contamination occurs on the surface of the carcass, only the surface temperature is an appropriate indicator of bacterial growth. The growth of these four pathogens (using E. coli models for VTEC) during different time-temperature chilling scenarios was estimated using commercial slaughterhouse data and published predictive microbiology models. The outputs suggest it is possible to apply slaughterhouse carcass target temperatures higher than the currently mandated 7 °C throughout the carcass (including the core) in combination with different transport durations without obtaining additional bacterial growth. Combinations of maximum surface temperatures at carcass loading and maximum chilling and transport times, that result in pathogen growth equivalent or less than that obtained when carcasses are chilled to a core temperature of 7 °C in the slaughterhouse are provided.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Olivier Andreoletti, Dorte Lau Baggesen, Declan Bolton, Patrick Butaye, Paul Cook, Robert Davies, Pablo S. Fernandez Escamez, John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Havelaar, Kostas Koutsoumanis, Roland Lindqvist, James McLauchlin, Truls Nesbakken, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, Giuseppe Ru, Moez Sanaa, Marion Simmons, John Sofos and John Threlfall
Panel on Biological Hazards
biohaz [at]
EFSA Journal 2014;12(3):3601
Question Number
On request from
European Commission