Pigs and pig meat may be responsible for 1020% of all human cases of the disease in the EU, said EFSA. In 2008, a total of 131,468 cases of salmonellosis were reported in the EU. There were 8,542 cases in the UK: 7,272 in England, 756 in Scotland, 413 in Wales and 101 in Northern Ireland. Food is considered the main source of infection.
EFSA's Biological Hazards Panel (BIOHAZ) found that incidents of the disease mainly depend on the levels of Salmonella in pigs and pig meat, as well as on consumption patterns and the relative importance of the other sources of Salmonella.
BIOHAZ evaluated a series of measures to reduce the number of cases of Salmonella. These included: ensuring pigs in breeding holdings were free from Salmonella; ensuring that the feed was also free from Salmonella; adequate cleaning and disinfection of holdings; avoiding contamination during slaughter; and decontaminating carcasses.
While reducing the number of Salmonella bacteria on contaminated carcasses by a factor of 100 could reduce human salmonellosis cases by 6080%, said BIOHAZ, good biosecurity in pig breeding holdings was crucial in reducing the levels in pigs going to slaughter.
Transportation temperature was also a contributory factor.