Salmonella-control programs tend to take a broad approach at all stages of the hog production, transport and processing stages, or they tend to focus specifically on one stage of the process.

However, in an American Association of Swine Veterinarians report authored by Michael Meredith, new research from Wageningen University in the Netherlands asked the question: “Could Salmonella-control resources be strategically targeted within the pork chain, while considering the chain as a whole?”

Researcher, M.A. van der Gaag, tackled the question by reviewing inter-related data sets of epidemiological and economic information for Salmonella infection in a series of computer simulations. Control programs targeting swine finishing, transport, lairage and slaughter stages were compared for epidemiological effectiveness and economic cost/benefit.

Control measures were formulated from a survey of 75 Dutch and Danish pork-industry experts. For each Salmonella-control program from finishing to slaughtering stages, the costs and revenues were calculated using partial budgeting. The net costs (per hog) of Salmonella-control measures for each stage in the production chain were:

  • Finishing - $3.75 (U.S.)
  • Transportation - $0.82 (U.S.)
  • Lairage: $0.50 (U.S.)
  • Processing: $1.84 (U.S.)

The research shows the potential value of adopting a chain approach to Salmonella control versus having each stage address it separately. Van der Gaag, concludes that effective Salmonella reduction depends on all chain participants’ efforts.

“A small number of poorly performing participants can disproportionately reduce the effectiveness of the other participants’ efforts,” he says.

The research suggested that a payment system based on Salmonella prevalence of the animals or carcasses is a promising strategy to improving food safety.

You can find more information on this research at http://library.wur.nl/wda/abstracts/ab3523.html.
Another source of information is “Watching Salmonella Move Through Pigs,” found at http://www.aasv.org/news/story.php?id=845