Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for biological hazards to be covered by meat inspection of domestic sheep and goats

Meat inspection, epidemiological indicators, sheep, goats, Toxoplasma, VTEC, mycobacteria
First published in the EFSA Journal
27 June 2013
25 June 2013
Scientific Report


In this report, harmonised epidemiological indicators are proposed for food-borne biological hazards that are related to domestic sheep and goats and meat thereof and that can be addressed in the context of meat inspection. These hazards include Toxoplasma gondii, pathogenicverocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli and mycobacteria. An epidemiological indicator is defined as the prevalence or 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 integrated sheep and goats meat safety assurance system outlined in the EFSA Scientific Opinion on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat from sheep and goats, particularly to help categorise farms/flock and slaughterhouses according to the risk related to the hazards and process hygiene. 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/flock level. It is recommended that risk managers should define the harmonised requirements for controlled housing conditions of farms, and the requirements for food chain information. Member States are invited to report data generated by the implementation of the indicators in accordance with Directive 2003/99/EC. The proposed indicators should be regularly reviewed in light of new information and the data generated by their implementation.

European Food Safety Authority
zoonoses [at]
EFSA Journal 2013;11(6):3277
Question Number
On request from
European Commission