The main purpose of meat inspection is to detect and prevent public health hazards such asfood-borne pathogens chemical contaminants in meat. Yet existing inspection practises often date back decades and might not always adequately protect public health. Traditionally, inspection techniques (visual, palpatory and by incision) for the presence of gross lesions or flaws such as bruises or broken bones have satisfied public health objectives. However these techniques are not always suitable for detecting food-borne diseases such as campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and virulent strains of E.coli, or contamination by chemical substances such as steroids or veterinary drug residues.
Meat inspection also plays an integral part in the overall monitoring system of certain animal diseases and the verification of compliance with animal welfare standards. This constitutes an important control point for the early identification of potential problems that may impact on public health as well as on animal health and welfare.