Risk-Benefit Assessment of Hog Mandibular Lymph Node Incision at Slaughter in Canada

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


In the context of a risk-based meat inspection modernization, the change towards a visual only inspection of all hog mandibular lymph nodes (MLN) has been made in some countries and is considered in Canada. In fact, the current mandatory incision and visual inspection of all MLNs put in force a century ago to detect signs of infection by Mycobacterium bovis may no longer be relevant and may even generate cross-contamination by bacteria potentially pathogenic to humans. To support a science-based decision, a qualitative risk-benefit assessment following the European Food Safety Authority framework was undertaken for each inspection approach (with or without systematic incision). Both risk-benefit assessments led to similar results in concluding that the benefit of any MLN inspection for the detection of M. bovis infection in hogs is no longer existent. For the risk associated with this incision, data is lacking to differentiate the risk between both inspections on the qualitative scale chosen. In conclusion, the scientific opinion is that the replacement of the current systematic incision and visual inspection of all hog MLNs by a systematic visual-only inspection of all MLNs will not affect the food safety risks and in fact may reduce some of them.

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