An EFSA panel on risk assessment and mitigation options of salmonella in pig production has concluded that all salmonella serovars from pork are to be regarded as public health hazards, and that actions to prevent human food-borne infection should be implemented throughout the food-chain.

Pork is thought to be the third most common source of food-borne salmonellosis in the EU, after eggs and poultry — although full country-by-country data is not available.

Total human cases of salmonellosis in the EU26, from all sources, were reported to be 192,703 in 2004.

In its opinion by the scientific panel BIOHAZ said that control of salmonella is based on preventative measures throughout the whole production chain: from reduction of pathogen load in live pigs, through hygienic slaughter and dressing; to meat or carcass decontamination under the supervision of health authorities.

At retail and consumer level, risk mitigation includes hygienic handling and proper cooling and heating of pork and pork products. The panel also set out two options for implementing monitoring schemes to detect and evaluate salmonella prevalence and exposure in pig production: immunology and bacteriology.