The efficacy of disinfectant misting in the lairage of a pig abattoir to reduce Salmonella and Enterobacteriaceae on pigs prior to slaughter

Kavita Walia, Helen Lynch, Jim Grant, Geraldine Duffy, Finola C. Leonard, Peadar G. Lawlor, Gillian E. Gardiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water misting/showers are used in abattoir lairages to improve meat quality, and to cool and calm pigs after transport and during hot weather. One novel approach, which has not been investigated to date, is to add a disinfectant to the misting water as a means of topically reducing Salmonella on pigs prior to slaughter, thereby potentially controlling this organism in the abattoir. The objective of this study was therefore to evaluate misting with water or with Virkon® S (an approved disinfectant for use in the presence of animals), for their ability to topically reduce Salmonella on high seroprevalence pig herds before stunning and to reduce Enterobacteriaceae. Three experimental groups were investigated: control group (i.e., no misting); water group (misting with cold, 15–17 °C, water, herein referred to as water); and a disinfectant group (misting with 0.5% Virkon® S). As pigs entered the abattoir, each animal was swabbed along its back before being allocated to its experimental group. Each group was randomly assigned to one of 3 lairage pens that were separated by non-trial pens. After 30 min of misting with water or disinfectant, pigs were moved to the stunning area, where each pig was again swabbed, as above. Swabs were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella and enumeration of Enterobacteriaceae. Before misting, Salmonella prevalence on the pigs was 79.0%, 72.1% and 83.6% for the control, water and disinfectant groups, respectively. After misting, Salmonella prevalence increased to 94.3% in the water group; whereas for the disinfectant group, the prevalence increased marginally to 85.9%. No change in Salmonella prevalence was detected for the control group. In line with the Salmonella results, no significant differences were observed in Enterobacteriaceae counts in the control group at either time point (4.37 and 5.01 log10 CFU/cm2, respectively) or in the disinfectant group before and after misting (4.02 and 4.26 log10 CFU/cm2, respectively). However, a 2.3 log10 CFU/cm2 increase in Enterobacteriaceae was recorded for the water group after misting as compared to before misting (p < 0.05). Since misting with water alone increased topical Salmonella contamination on pigs before slaughter, a risk assessment based on known Salmonella data, meat quality and welfare is recommended to determine whether its use is justifiable. On the other hand, the findings from this study suggest that misting with Virkon® S at 0.5% could have a role in topical antisepsis of pigs contaminated with Salmonella prior to slaughter and as such this warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalFood Control
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2017

Keywords

  • Antisepsis
  • Lairage
  • Misting
  • Topical decontamination
  • Virkon S

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