A qualitative risk assessment for visual-only post-mortem meat inspection of cattle, sheep, goats and farmed/wild deer

Hill, A A and Horigan, V and Clarke, K A and Dewe, T C M and Staerk, K D C and O'Brien, S J and Buncic, S (2013) A qualitative risk assessment for visual-only post-mortem meat inspection of cattle, sheep, goats and farmed/wild deer. Food Control, 38. pp. 96-103.

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Abstract

The UK Food Standards Agency is currently funding research to build the evidence base for the modernisation of meat inspection. This includes an assessment of the risks to public health and animal health/welfare of moving to a visual-only post-mortem meat inspection (PMMI), where routine mandatory palpation and incision procedures are omitted. In this paper we present the results of a risk assessment for a change from current to visual-only PMMI for cattle, sheep/goats and farmed/wild deer. A large list of hazard/species pairings were assessed and prioritised by a process of hazard identification. Twelve hazard/species pairings were selected for full consideration within the final risk assessment. The results of the public health risk assessment indicated that all hazard/species pairings were Negligible with the exception of Cysticercus bovis in cattle, which was judged to be of low-medium increased risk for systems not conforming to criteria as laid down by EC Regulation 1244/2007, compared to systems that do conform to Regulations for visual-only PMMI. Most hazard/species pairings were concluded to pose a potential increased risk to animal health/welfare, including Mycobacterium bovis (very low – low increase in risk, but with considerable uncertainty), Fasciola hepatica (negligible – very low) and Cysticercus bovis (very low – low). Due to low feedback rates to farmers, the real risk to animal health/welfare for F. hepatica and C. bovis, including animals in non-conforming systems under visual-only PMMI, is probably negligible. That then leaves M. bovis as the only confirmed non-negligible animal health and welfare risk.