Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2006
Publication Date: 7/9/2006
Citation: Rostagno, M.H., Hurd, H.S., Mckean, J.D. 2006. Resting pigs on transport trailers: potential intervention to reduce salmonella prevalence at slaughter?. Journal of Animal Science. 84(1):252. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Prior to slaughter, pigs are usually held for at least two hours to recover from the stress of transport, improve meat quality, and maintain a constant supply for the slaughter line. However, recent research has shown that much pre-harvest Salmonella infection occurs immediately before slaughter during this rest period in the contaminated abattoir holding pens. Intervention strategies to reduce the occurrence of Salmonella infections during the pre-slaughter holding are necessary in order to reduce the number of pigs carrying the bacteria into the slaughter line, decreasing the risk for pork and pork products contamination. The objective of this study was to evaluate a potential intervention strategy to reduce the prevalence of Salmonella-positive pigs at slaughter. This strategy consisted of resting (or holding) pigs prior to slaughter on their transport vehicle instead of in the abattoir holding pen. A total of 120 animals were included in the experiment, divided in 4 replicates (n=30 pigs per replicate). Upon arrival at the abattoir, 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 hour of resting, both groups were slaughtered, and samples collected. Samples collected included; portion of the distal ileum (10cm), cecal content (10g), and ileocecal lymph node. Results showed higher Salmonella recovery rates (p<0.05) from pigs held in the abattoir pens (40.7% versus 13.3%). This study demonstrates that, except for unloading logistics, the possibility of resting pigs on the transport vehicle has the potential to decrease Salmonella levels entering the abattoir. Moreover, this study shows the importance of avoiding the exposure of pigs to the contaminated lairage environment.