Although a traditional approach to postmortem meat inspection dominates current programs, scientific evidence increasingly suggests that some practices are inappropriately focused. Allocation of inspection resources in modern meat production and processing systems should reflect a distribution according to risk, rather than a distribution according to the classical rules of meat inspection.
Postmortem inspection procedures are not usually differentiated according to the class of livestock presented for slaughter, and they may be inappropriate to the spectrum and prevalence of diseases and defects present in a particular geographical region. A risk assessment model can provide the methodology for scientific evaluation of different postmortem inspection procedures, and allow the recognition of equivalent rather than replicated programs by international trading partners.
The threat to human (and animal) health posed by various grossly evident diseases detectable by routine meat inspection procedures has been overemphasized relative to the threat posed by inadvertent microbiological contamination of the carcass and offals. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point approach (HACCP) identifies and ranks microbiological and other hazards that can arise at each operational step in a food processing system and is a scientifically based system for process control. It has yet to be introduced as a formal method for regulatory control of slaughter and dressing. The networking of slaughterhouse information back to the farm enhances the preventative approach of HACCP.