EFSA publishes meat inspection analysis

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA has published its opinions on meat inspection in Europe
EFSA has published its opinions on meat inspection in Europe

Related tags European union European commission

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed its analysis of the health risks posed by meat, which will form the basis for the modernisation of meat inspection across the EU.

The agency yesterday (27 June) published four scientific opinions on the health hazards posed by meat from cattle, sheep and goats, farmed game, and domestic solipeds such as horses. This follows the publication of opinions on meat from pigs and poultry in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The analysis, which was requested by the European Commission, identifies the biological and chemical hazards posed by meat from different species and ranks them according to the risk they pose to public health. It also includes recommendations on what changes should be made to meat inspection procedures to minimise these hazards, and expert opinion on the impact that proposed changes to EU meat inspection would have on the surveillance of animal disease.


EFSA recommended that for all species, routine palpation or incision techniques should be omitted in post-mortem inspection to reduce bacterial risks.

However, it added that changing to visual-only post-mortem inspection would “decrease the quality of surveillance for some animal diseases”​, in particular bovine tuberculosis.

It therefore recommended that other should therefore approaches be followed to compensate for the associated loss of information. “Extended use of other information collected throughout the food chain could compensate for some, but not all, the information lost due to the proposed change​s,” it said.

Other cross-species recommendations included the introduction of a comprehensive meat safety assurance system with clear targets for the main hazards in carcasses, the categorisation of farms and slaughterhouses according to the risk posed by biological hazards; the monitoring of chemical residues and contaminates and more integrated sampling, testing and intervention protocols for monitoring chemicals and environmental contaminants in the food chain.

Modernised inspection

The European Commission will use the analysis to develop a modernised meat inspection system, which is more suited to tackling the risks posed by biological and chemical hazards than the existing system.

EFSA’s executive Director, Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, said: “This work will support risk managers in mitigating public health risks at an important step in the meat production chain”.

Related topics Meat

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