Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for public health hazards to be covered by meat inspection of swine
In this report harmonised epidemiological indicators are proposed for food-borne biological hazards to public health that are related to pigs and pork and that can be addressed within meat inspection. These hazards include Salmonella, Yersinia enterocolitica, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella, Cysticercus (Taenia solium) and mycobacteria. An epidemiological indicator is defined as the prevalence or incidence of the hazard at a certain stage of the food chain or an indirect measure of the hazards that correlates to human health risk caused by the hazard. The indicators can be used by the European Commission and the Member States to consider when adaptations in meat inspection methods may be relevant and to carry out risk analysis to support such decisions. It is foreseen that the indicators will be used in the pork safety assurance framework proposed by the EFSA Scientific Opinion, particularly to help categorise farms/herds and slaughterhouses according to the risk related to the hazards as well as setting appropriate targets for final chilled carcases. Depending on the purpose and the epidemiological situation risk managers should decide on the most appropriate indicator(s) to use, either alone or in combinations, at national, regional, slaughterhouse or farm/herd level. It is recommended that risk managers should define the harmonised requirements for the controlled housing conditions of farms. Member States are invited to organise training regarding the implementation of the indicators and the reporting of data generated by the implementation in accordance with Directive 2003/99/EC. The proposed indicators should be regularly reviewed in light of new information and the data generated by their implementation. For some hazards further research is needed on the risk factors and the role of pork as a source of human infection.