EFSA publishes EU-wide survey on Salmonella levels in slaughtered pigs
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a survey on Salmonella levels detected in slaughtered pigs across the European Union in 2006-2007. Salmonella was estimated on average to be present in one in ten pigs slaughtered for human consumption (10.3%), according to an EU-wide report from an EFSA Task Force. Levels for Salmonella detected in pigs varied from 0% to 29% between Member States. Among all Salmonella detected, Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Derby (which are two common Salmonella types found in infection cases in humans) were detected in 4.7% and 2.1% of pigs slaughtered for human consumption, respectively. Salmonella is the second most reported cause of food-borne diseases in humans in Europe with 160,649 people suffering from Salmonella infections in 2006(approximately 35 people in every 100,000). These results will now help the European Commission in setting targets to reduce Salmonella in pigs across the EU.
Only one country reported no cases at all in their slaughtered pig populations for all Salmonella types while others detected levels as high as 29%. In addition to Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Derby, some countries also reported high levels of other types of Salmonella.
Testing of slaughter pigs across the 25 Member States participating in this survey was based on a randomly selected sample drawn from slaughterhouses representing 80% of the pigs slaughtered in each Member State.
Salmonella is the second most reported cause of food-borne diseases in humans in Europe. Infections can range from a mild to severe gastroenteritis and in some vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, can be fatal. Risks for consumers are typically from under-cooking of pig meat or cross-contamination to other foods. Thorough cooking and strict kitchen hygiene will prevent or reduce the risk posed by Salmonella contaminated pig meat.
EFSA has already published a series of other baseline surveys on Salmonella and in the future will publish further surveys on both Salmonella and Campylobacter in animal populations and food. In the case of Salmonella, baseline surveys such as these will assist the European Commission in setting reduction targets.
- See the full report and annexes