A Retrospective Study after 10 Years (2010-2019) of Meat Inspection Activity in a Domestic Swine Abattoir in Tuscany: The Slaughterhouse as an Epidemiological Observatory

Animals (Basel). 2020 Oct 18;10(10):1907. doi: 10.3390/ani10101907.


The activities performed by the Official Veterinarian at the slaughterhouse represent a useful source of data for the control of issues affecting human and animal health and welfare. This study analyzed the data deriving from ten years (2010-2019) of meat inspection in a pig slaughterhouse in Tuscany (Italy) to investigate the transport mortality rate and the frequencies and main causes of whole carcass and partial condemnations. In total, 1,246,309 pigs were slaughtered from 8 different regions of Central and Northern Italy. Overall, 1153 pigs died during transport (mortality rate 0.09%). Whole carcass condemnation affected 372 carcasses (0.03%), mainly due to erysipelas, generalized jaundice, lipomatous pseudohypertrophy, generalized abscesses, acute or generalized enteritis, and peritonitis. As regards partial condemnations, the liver was the most frequently condemned (~30% of the pigs), followed by lungs (17.3%), heart (6.9%), and kidney (0.9%). The main causes were "milk spot liver" and perihepatitis for the liver; pneumonia and pleurisy for the lungs; pericarditis and polyserositis for the heart; and polycystic kidney and nephritis for kidneys. The results of this study describe a non-worrying situation as regards the investigated aspects and confirm the slaughterhouse as a valid epidemiological observatory for monitoring the trend of the main diseases over time, the results of the efforts for their control, and the compliance with animal welfare standards.

Keywords: carcass condemnation; erysipelas; pathology; slaughter; welfare.