Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for biological hazards to be covered by meat inspection of bovine animals


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2013;11(6):3276 [78 pp.].

EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Working Group that prepared this report: Mariann Chriel, Lieven De Zutter, Javier Dominguez, Pierre Dorny, Geraldine Duffy, David Nolan, Claude Saegerman. Also the contributions of the EFSA’s staff members Frank Boelaert, Pia Mäkelä, Valentina Rizzi and that of the reviewer Declan Bolton 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
25 June 2013
Published in the EFSA Journal
27 June 2013
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 bovine animals and meat thereof and that can be addressed within meat inspection. These hazards include Salmonella, pathogenicverocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli, Cysticercus (Taenia saginata) and mycobacteria. An epidemiological indicator is defined as the prevalence or the concentration of the hazard at a certain stage of the food chain or an indirect measure of the hazard that correlates with the human health risk caused by the hazard. The indicators can be used by the European Commission and the Member States to consider when adaptations to meat inspection methods may be required, and to carry out risk analysis to support such decisions. It is foreseen that the indicators will be used in the bovine carcase meat safety assurance system outlined in 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 specific hazard-based targets in/on bovine carcases and, when appropriate, in bovine farms/herds. Depending on the purpose and the epidemiological situation risk managers should decide on the most appropriate indicator(s) to use, either alone or in combination, at national, regional, slaughterhouse or farm/herd level. It is recommended that risk managers should define the harmonised requirements for controlled husbandry conditions of farms, and the requirements for food chain information. 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 the light of new information and the data generated by their implementation.

Meat inspection, epidemiological indicators, bovine animals, Salmonella, VTEC, Cysticercus, mycobacteria
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