Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for public health hazards to be covered by meat inspection of swine


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2011;9(10):2371 [125 pp.].

EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Working Group that prepared this report: Jens Kirk Andersen, Mariann Chriel, Alasdair Cook, Lieven De Zutter, Javier Dominguez, Pierre Dorny, Christina Frank, Angela Lahuerta-Marin, Geert Molenberghs, David Nolan, Edoardo Pozio, Claude Saegerman, and Gilles Salvat. Also the contributions of the EFSA’s staff members: Pia Makela, Valentina Rizzi, Pierre-Alexandre Beloeil, Frank Boelaert, Elena Mazzolini, Giusi Amore, Anca Stoicescu, Francesca Riolo, Kenneth Mulligan, Jose Cortinas-Abrahantes and Gabriele Zancanaro; as well as that of EFSA’s contractors: AusVet, TRASYS agilis and Fera and their staff members Angus Cameron, Photis Stravropoulos and Irene Zimmer, and the peer-reviewer Sava Buncic for the support provided to this EFSA scientific output is gratefully acknowledged. EFSA also wishes to thank the members of Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection who reviewed the report.

Scientific Report of EFSA
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
30 August 2011
Published in the EFSA Journal
3 October 2011
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Parma Italy

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.

Meat inspection, biological hazard, epidemiological indicators, Salmonella, Yersinia, Toxoplasma, Trichinella, Cysticercus, mycobacteria
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