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

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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.




Koutsoumanis, K., Allende, A., Alvarez-Ordóñez, A., Bolton, D., Bover-Cid, S., Chemaly, M., … Hilbert, F. (2020). Evaluation of public and animal health risks in case of a delayed post-mortem inspection in ungulates. EFSA Journal, 18(12). https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6307

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