Have changes to meat and poultry food safety regulation in Australia affected the prevalence of Salmonella or of salmonellosis?Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Apr 15; 92(2):199-205.IJ
During the 1990s, there was radical change in regulation of meat and poultry hygiene in Australia, and Australian Standards were developed for each sector of the meat industry. Systems for industry/government co-regulation and company-employed meat inspection were introduced based on company HACCP programs approved and audited by the Controlling Authority. However, in the 5 years since regulatory changes took full effect, rates of salmonellosis have not decreased (surveillance and reporting systems have remained unchanged). Using statistics gathered by the National Enteric Pathogens Surveillance Scheme, an attempt was made to link Salmonella serovars isolated from meat and poultry with those causing salmonellosis. Two periods were studied, 1993/1994, before regulations were introduced, and 2000/2001, when regulations should be having an effect. For red meat, the same serovars were prominent among the top 10 isolates both before and after regulation, and there was little linkage with salmonelloses. For poultry, frequently isolated serovars differed pre- and post-regulation, however, in both periods there was some linkage between serovars isolated from poultry and those causing salmonelloses. Using published and unpublished survey data, it was concluded that there had been improvements in microbiological quality of red meat and poultry over the same timeframe as regulatory changes. That these improvements apparently have not carried through to reduced case-rates for salmonellosis may be due to numerous causes, including lack of control in the food processing, food service and home sectors. The present paper illustrates difficulties faced by governments in measuring public health outcomes of changes to food hygiene regulation.