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Evaluation of the Safety Assurance Level for Salmonella spp. throughout the Food Production Chain in Switzerland

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In Switzerland, the safeguarding of food is the responsibility of industry, organizations, and governmental authorities. The dispersion of the tasks and the diversity of implemented safety measures among involved stakeholders do not allow a general overview of the national safety assurance level provided. A comprehensive evaluation of the level of safety assurance provided for foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella spp. is therefore lacking, and the prevalence of Salmonella spp. at various points in the food production chain is not known. The objectives of this study were to (i) collect data on safety measures implemented throughout the food production chain in Switzerland regarding Salmonella spp.; (ii) evaluate the safety assurance level for Salmonella spp. at each step of the production chain for chicken meat, pork, beef, and milk and dairy products (bovine origin); and (iii) gather data on the prevalence of the pathogen at each step. Data on implemented safety assurance measures for Salmonella spp. were gathered from the various stakeholders in the food production chain. The data were analyzed by a semiquantitative method that considered the quality and relevance of the implemented safety measures for Salmonella spp. The safety assurance level for Salmonella spp. was evaluated from ''no safety assurance'' to ''very good safety assurance.'' Available results of testing for Salmonella spp. from 1998 to 2000 were used for calculating the prevalence of the pathogen throughout the food production chain. The results showed a varying safety assurance level for Salmonella spp. throughout the food production chain. Strengths (e.g., feed production for chickens) and weaknesses (e.g., pork production) were observed. These results serve as a basis for a rational optimization of the system.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Swiss Federal Veterinary Office, Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, CH-3003 Bern 2: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute for Animal Sciences, Universita¨tstrasse

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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