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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Resting Pigs on Transport Trailers As An Intervention Strategy to Reduce Salmonella Enterica Prevalence at Slaughter

Authors
item Rostagno, Marcos
item Hurd, Howard - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Mckean, James - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 28, 2005
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Recent research has shown that much pre-harvest Salmonella enterica infection in pigs occurs immediately before slaughter during the rest period in the contaminated abattoir holding pens. The objective of this study was to evaluate a potential intervention strategy to reduce the prevalence of S. enterica-positive pigs at slaughter, which consisted in resting pigs prior to slaughter on their transport vehicle, instead of in the abattoir holding pen. Additionally, the effect of transportation of pigs from farm to the abattoir on S. enterica prevalence was investigated. Fecal samples were collected at the farm and at the abattoir, where randomly chosen pigs were unloaded, and moved to a holding pen, whereas the rest of the pigs stayed in the transport trailer. After approximately 1.5 hours of resting, both groups were slaughtered and sampled. Results showed higher S. enterica recovery rates from pigs held in the abattoir pens. There was no difference for the S. enterica prevalence before and after transportation from farm to abattoir. This study demonstrates that, except for unloading logistics, the possibility of resting pigs on the transport vehicle has the potential to decrease S. enterica levels entering the abattoir.

Technical Abstract: Recent research has shown that much pre-harvest Salmonella enterica infection in pigs occurs immediately before slaughter during the rest period in the contaminated abattoir holding pens. The objective of this study was to evaluate a potential intervention strategy to reduce the prevalence of S. enterica-positive pigs at slaughter, which consisted in resting pigs prior to slaughter on their transport vehicle, instead of in the abattoir holding pen. Additionally, the effect of transportation of pigs from farm to the abattoir on S. enterica prevalence was investigated. A total of 120 animals were included in the experiment, divided in 4 replicates (n = 30 pigs per replicate). Fecal samples were collected from each animal at the farm and at the abattoir, where 15 randomly chosen pigs were unloaded, and moved to a holding pen, whereas the remaining 15 pigs stayed in the transport trailer. After approximately 1.5 hours of resting, both groups were slaughtered. Samples collected included; distal ileum portion, cecal content, and ileocecal lymph node. Results showed higher S. enterica recovery rates (p < 0.05) from pigs held in the abattoir pens (40.7% versus 13.3%). There was no difference for the S. enterica prevalence before and after transportation from farm to abattoir (5.8% versus 0.8%). This study demonstrates that, except for unloading logistics, the possibility of resting pigs on the transport vehicle has the potential to decrease S. enterica levels entering the abattoir. Considerations for substantial changes in the traditional abattoir receiving practices may be worth considering.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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