The overall objectives of meat inspection are to contribute to food safety, animal welfare, and animal health. In the European Union (EU), there is a request for a modernised meat inspection system that addresses these objectives in a more valid, feasible and cost-effective way than does the traditional system. One part of the modernisation deals with the coding system to register meat inspection findings. Although unified standards are set at the EU level for judgement criteria regarding fitness of meat for consumption, different national systems are in force. The question is the extent of the differences and whether there is a basis for harmonisation. To investigate this, information was gathered about the code systems in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain. Moreover, meat inspection data covering pigs slaughtered in 2019 were collected. A comparison of the number of codes available, the terminology and the frequencies of the findings registered was undertaken. Codes with a similar meaning were grouped. Hereby, two lists were compiled showing the most common codes leading to total and to partial condemnation. Substantial variations in the percentage of condemned pigs and in the terms used were identified, and possible reasons behind this are discussed. Moreover, a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT)-like analysis was applied to the coding systems. Finally, the reasons for unfitness of meat given in the EU Food Inspection Regulation 2019/627 were compared to the national code lists. The results show the systems in force varied substantially, and each system had its advantages and disadvantages. The diverse terminology observed made it a challenge to compare data between countries. Development of harmonised terminology for meat inspection findings is suggested, enabling comparison of data between abattoirs, regions, and countries, while respecting the national epidemiological situation, the local food safety culture, and the trade agreements in force.
Differences in code terminology and frequency of findings in meat inspection of finishing pigs in seven European countries / Alban, L.; Vieira-Pinto, M.; Meemken, D.; Maurer, P.; Ghidini, S.; Santos, S.; Laguna, J. G.; Laukkanen-Ninios, R.; Alvseike, O.; Langkabel, N.. - In: FOOD CONTROL. - ISSN 0956-7135. - 132(2022), p. 108394.108394. [10.1016/j.foodcont.2021.108394]
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