Salmonella is one of the major foodborne pathogens worldwide. Pork products are among the main sources of Salmonella infection in humans, and several countries have established Salmonella surveillance and control programs. The role of slaughtering in carcass contamination has been indicated by studies focused on the slaughterhouse environment. In this review, we examine and discuss the information available regarding the influence that farm status, pig transport, and lairage have on the carriage of Salmonella by pigs entering the slaughter line. The evolution of carcass contamination throughout the slaughtering process, the main sources of contamination in the dirty and clean zones of the slaughter line, and previously reported prevalence of Salmonella on carcasses and factors affecting this prevalence also are discussed. The importance of implementing interventions at the slaughter level is discussed briefly. Consistent with the information available, pigs from infected farms and newly acquired or recrudescent infections in pigs at the subsequent stages of transport and lairage are important sources of Salmonella at the slaughtering plant. The continuous introduction of Salmonella into the slaughterhouse and the potential for resident flora constitute a risk for carcass contamination. At the slaughterhouse, some dressing activities can reduce carcass contamination, but others are critical control points that jeopardize carcass hygiene. This information indicates the importance of considering slaughter and previous stages in the pork production chain for controlling Salmonella in swine production.

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