Evaluation of public and animal health risks in case of a delayed post‐mortem inspection in ungulates

chemical residues, contaminants, delay, lesions, meat inspection, post‐mortem, ungulates
First published in the EFSA Journal
4 décembre 2020
21 octobre 2020
Scientific Opinion

Acknowledgments: The BIOHAZ Panel wishes to thank the following for the support provided to this scientific output: the AHAW Panel: Julio Alvarez, Dominique Joseph Bicout, Paolo Calistri, Klaus Depner, Julian AshleyDrewe, Bruno Garin‐Bastuji, Jose Luis Gonzales Rojas, Christian Gortazar Schmidt, Virginie Michel, Miguel Angel Miranda Chueca, Søren Saxmose Nielsen, Helen Clare Roberts, Liisa Helena Sihvonen, Hans Spoolder, Karl Stahl, Antonio Velarde, Arvo Viltrop and Christoph Winckler; the CONTAM Panel: Margherita Bignami, Laurent Bodin, James Kevin Chipman, Jesus del Mazo, Bettina Grasl‐Kraupp, Christer Hogstrand, Laurentius (Ron) Hoogenboom, Jean‐Charles Leblanc, Carlo Stefano Nebbia, Elsa Nielsen, Evangelia Ntzani, Annette Petersen, Salomon Sand, Dieter Schrenk, Tanja Schwerdtle, Christiane Vleminckx and Heather Wallace; Andy Hart, Peter Craig; Kelly Niermans, Katrin Bote, Loran Postolovski, Erik Jergil, Asima Aganovic, Thea Ottinger, Jaime Garcia Alcorlo, Eduardo Medina, Jean‐Michel Cappelier, Vincent Hinoux, Manuel Varillas, Tina Lysgaard Hale, Gerardo Domínguez Peñafiel, Isabel Murillo, Carmen Olmos, Karel Dossche. The BIOHAZ Panel wishes to thank the hearing experts: Joachim Polzer, Saskia Sterk and Eric Verdon for the support provided to this scientific output.


The potential effects of a 24 or 72‐h delay in post‐mortem inspection (PMI) of ungulates on public health and monitoring of animal health and welfare was evaluated. The assessment used a survey of meat inspectors, expert opinion, literature search and a stochastic model for Salmonella detection sensitivity. Disease detection sensitivity at a delayed PMI is expected to reduce detection sensitivity to a variable extent, depending on the hazard and on the signs/lesions and organs involved. No reduction is expected for Trichinella detection in meat from susceptible animal species and any decrease in detection of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) will not exceed the current tolerance for fallen stock. A 24‐h delay in PMI could result in a small reduction in sensitivity of detection for tuberculosis, echinococcosis and cysticercosis. A greater reduction is expected for the detection of pyaemia and Rift valley fever. For the detection of Salmonella, the median model estimates are a reduction of sensitivity of 66.5% (90% probability interval (PI) 0.08–99.75%) after 24‐h delay and 94% (90% PI 0.83–100%) after 72‐h delay of PMI. Laboratory testing for tuberculosis following a sampling delay of 24–72 h could result in no, or a moderate, decrease in detection depending on the method of confirmation used (PCR, culture, histopathology). For chemical contaminants, a delay in meat inspection of 24 or 72 h is expected to have no impact on the effectiveness of detection of persistent organic pollutants and metals. However, for certain pharmacologically active substances, there will be a reduced effectiveness to detect some of these substances due to potential degradation in the available matrices (tissues and organs) and the non‐availability of specific preferred matrices of choice.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Ana Allende, Avelino Alvarez‐Ordóñez, Declan Bolton, Sara Bover‐Cid, Marianne Chemaly, Robert Davies, Alessandra De Cesare, Lieve Herman, Friederike Hilbert, Konstantinos Koutsoumanis, Roland Lindqvist, Maarten Nauta, Luisa Peixe, Giuseppe Ru, Marion Simmons, Panagiotis Skandamis and Elisabetta Suffredini.
Panel on Biological Hazards
biohaz [at] efsa.europa.eu
EFSA Journal 2020;18(12):6307
Question Number
On request from
European Commission