A risk-based approach for evaluation of hygiene performance at pig slaughter

Anne Mette Bollerslev, Maarten Nauta, Tine Hald, Tina Beck Hansen, Søren Aabo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In Denmark, the pig slaughterhouses have a daily input of pigs infected and/or contaminated with Salmonella, and the slaughter hygiene has major influence on the level of Salmonella contamination on the meat leaving the slaughterhouse. However, the relationship between the effect of improved hygiene performance and the consequential reduction of human health risk has not been estimated so far. In this study, swab samples from 2702 pig carcasses were collected, originally for other purposes, from five large Danish slaughterhouses in a period from 2005 to 2007, covering all seasons of the year. The samples were analysed quantitatively for E. coli and semi-quantitatively for Salmonella. A positive association between the number of E. coli on carcasses and the prevalence of Salmonella positive carcasses was shown. For carcasses positive for Salmonella, a positive association was also shown between the number of E. coli and the number of Salmonella on the carcass. As no biological association has been reported between faecal shedding of E. coli and presence of Salmonella, the relationship was considered to be associated with the level of faecal contamination. The positive association between E. coli and Salmonella was used as basis for developing a quantitative risk assessment model for Salmonella, using the level E. coli as model input. The model output associated the hygiene performance with a relative risk estimate of human salmonellosis. The overall objective was to develop a decision support tool that can be used to support risk-based hygiene interventions in pig slaughterhouses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Control
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Hygiene indicator
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Risk modeling
  • Pig slaughterhouse


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