Resting Pigs on Transport Trailers as an Intervention Strategy To Reduce Salmonella enterica Prevalence at Slaughter

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Recent research has shown that much preharvest Salmonella enterica infection in pigs occurs immediately before slaughter during this rest period in the contaminated abattoir holding pens. The objective of this study was to evaluate a potential intervention strategy to reduce the prevalence of S. enterica–positive pigs at slaughter, which consisted of resting pigs prior to slaughter on their transport vehicle, instead of in the abattoir holding pen. Additionally, the effect of transportation of pigs from farm to the abattoir on S. enterica prevalence was investigated. A total of 120 animals were included in the experiment, divided in four replicates (n = 30 pigs per replicate). Fecal samples were collected from each animal at the farm and at the abattoir, where 15 randomly chosen pigs were unloaded and moved to a holding pen, while the remaining 15 pigs stayed in the transport trailer. After approximately 1.5 h of resting, both groups were slaughtered. Samples collected included distal ileum portion, cecal contents, and ileocecal lymph node. The overall S. enterica prevalence (pigs positive in at least one of the samples collected at slaughter) was higher for pigs held in the abattoir pens (40.7% versus 13.3%, P > 0.05). There was no difference (P > 0.05) for the S. enterica prevalence before and after transportation from farm to abattoir (5.8% versus 0.8%, respectively). This study demonstrates that resting pigs on the transport vehicle has the potential to decrease S. enterica levels entering the abattoir.

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Animal Disease Center, Preharvest Food Safety and Enteric Diseases Unit, P.O. Box 70, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA 2: Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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