Hog Mandibular Lymph Node Abnormalities and Bacteriological Contamination at Slaughter in Canada

  •  André Ravel    
  •  Boubacar Sidibé    
  •  Pascal Moreau    
  •  Jean-Robert Bisaillon    


In the context of meat inspection modernization, the current mandatory incision and visual inspection of all hog mandibular lymph nodes (MLNs) to detect signs of infection by Mycobacterium bovis, a zoonotic infection is examined. Canadian data of MLN pathology and microbial contamination are scarce and the performance of the current regulatory inspection of MLNs in actually detecting lesions and contamination by Mycobacterium bovis has not been documented. A survey of MLN condition in market hogs according to various inspection schemes was undertaken to fill the data gap. One MLN of a representative sample of 149 483 hogs were submitted to standard pathological and bacteriological analyses. Actual abnormal MLNs actually were rare (below 8%). They are often under detected by the current inspection because of limited sensitivity (18%). Such abnormalities, even undetected, have very limited, if any, impact on human health since the pathological and microbiological analyses failed to provide evidence of Mycobacterium bovis infection. On the other hand, MLNs can be contaminated with several bacteria potentially pathogenic to humans, raising the risk of cross-contamination during the inspection with incision. Finally, the current incision and visual inspection of all hog MLNs and the proposed visual-only inspection perform similarly in identifying abnormal MLNs.

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