Scientific Opinion on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat (solipeds)
A risk ranking process identified Trichinella spp. as the most relevant biological hazard in the context of meat inspection of domestic solipeds. Without a full and reliable soliped traceability system, it is considered that either testing all slaughtered solipeds for Trichinella spp., or inactivation meat treatments (heat or irradiation) should be used to maintain the current level of safety. With regard to general aspects of current meat inspection practices, the use of manual techniques during current post-mortem soliped meat inspection may increase microbial cross-contamination, and is considered to have a detrimental effect on the microbiological status of soliped carcass meat. Therefore, the use of visual-only inspection is suggested for “non-suspect” solipeds. For chemical hazards, phenylbutazone and cadmium were ranked as being of high potential concern. Monitoring programmes for chemical hazards should be more flexible and based on the risk of occurrence, taking into account Food Chain Information (FCI), covering the specific on-farm environmental conditions and individual animal treatments, and the ranking of chemical substances, which should be regularly updated and include new hazards. Sampling, testing and intervention protocols for chemical hazards should be better integrated and should focus particularly on cadmium, phenylbutazone and priority “essential substances” approved for treatment of equine animals. Implementation and enforcement of a more robust and reliable identification system throughout the European Union is needed to improve traceability of domestic solipeds. Meat inspection is recognised as a valuable tool for surveillance and monitoring of animal health and welfare conditions. If visual only post-mortem inspection is implemented for routine slaughter, a reduction in the detection of strangles and mild cases of rhodococcosis would occur. However, this was considered unlikely to affect the overall surveillance of both diseases. Improvement of FCI and traceability were considered as not having a negative effect on animal health and welfare surveillance.