Risk assessment strategies for Europe: integrated safety strategy or final product control: Example of Listeria monocytogenes in processed products from pork meat industry.Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2004 Aug; 111(8):331-4.DT
The European regulation 2160/2003 of November 17th, 2003 clearly shows the European strategy of zoonosis monitoring and control as an integrated approach, including the entire food production chain with a first application to Salmonella control in different animal species. This regulation is the consequence of a risk assessment performed with a "farm to fork" philosophy. European strategy is scarcely different from the American strategy, despite the fact that both were achieved by a quantitative risk assessment, as for instance, in the USA the control of Salmonella in eggs is supposed to be completed by refrigeration. Nevertheless, the EU will still have a final product control approach towards future regulations on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs. The final production monitoring and control with HACCP (93/43/EC) and microbiological criteria is the only one available for L. monocytogenes in foodstuffs. The purpose of this paper is to discuss alternative control strategies for L. monocytogenes in pig production including integrated risk assessment. In France, most of the food-borne outbreaks associated with L. monocytogenes in delicatessen were due to one particular group of strains belonging to serovar 4b and presenting a particular RFLP/PFGE (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism/Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis) profile. The outbreak itself is always associated with the initial contamination of a RTE ("ready to eat") product and re-contamination by inappropriate handling after cooking. Consequently, in most cases the RTE product is subject to inadequate refrigeration during an excessive shelf-life. The responsibility of the food industry and the consumer is clearly engaged during this scenario of foodborne diseases. The question is how to avoid the introduction of this particular strain of L. monocytogenes in the food chain. In a study we tried to evaluate the risk of pig carcass contamination at slaughterhouse level and to identify the main risk factors associated with the infection of live pigs. In most cases inappropriate cleaning and disinfection of surfaces were associated with the contamination of raw meat, but in some cases the introduction of epidemic strains in the food chain was also associated with primary production. Feeding with soup in piggeries seemed to select a particular microbial ecology associated to L. monocytogenes contamination of live pigs. The possible strategies that may be used to control L. monocytogenes in live pig production are not yet developed sufficiently to be included in the EC regulation but should be discussed in more detail.