Scientific Opinion on animal health risk mitigation treatments as regards imports of animal casings
Salting with NaCl for 30 days is a well-established and accepted procedure in the casings industry and it has been the standard animal health risk mitigation treatment prescribed in EU legislation for many years. This opinion reviews (i) improvements in the NaCl treatment that would lead to an increased level of safety to avoid transmission of animal pathogens, (ii) alternative treatments that could have been developed giving equivalent or better results in the inactivation of relevant pathogens, and (iii) provides an assessment of the phosphate-salt treatment recommended by OIE for foot and mouth disease virus, in particular if it could be considered safe as regards the elimination of other animal pathogens. The rate of inactivation of viruses was highly dependent on temperature for both NaCl and phosphate-NaCl treatment. Treatment with phosphate-NaCl mixture leads to faster inactivation than treatment with NaCl salt alone. Brucella species are readily inactivated by NaCl salting, but mycobacteriamay survive beyond 30 days in intestines in conditions similar to those used for salting of casings. It is recommended that casings should be treated at 20 °C for 30 days to achieve effective inactivation of animal pathogens. Several other treatments have been applied to casings with the aim of inactivating infectious agents, but none of them have been extensively investigated with viruses relevant for animal health.