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Targeted low cost solutions for control of Salmonella in pig production

Project Summary

Salmonella in pigs is a significant food safety issue in Ireland. Ireland had one of the highest carcass contamination rates (20%) in a recent EU baseline study in slaughter pigs. This is a major concern for public health and for home and export pork markets. Although considerable effort has been put into the National Pig Salmonella Control Programme, it has not yet resulted in lower rates of Salmonella carriage or carcass contamination rates.  A novel aspect of this project is that it will focus on the implementation and validation of low cost solutions to control Salmonella carriage and transmission on Irish commercial pig farms. The strategy will be the use of selected acids in feed at three key stages of pig production; breeding sows, first stage weaners and finishers as well as the use of acid in water at lairage in combination with decontamination strategies. In the first part of the study, two commercial pig farms with a recorded high Salmonella sero-prevalence will be selected. At the four stages selected for implementation of control measures, the administration of acids in feed and improved hygiene and disinfection will be investigated

In the second part of the project the optimum interventions from each stage will be selected and trialled in a full cycle of production from breeding sows through to slaughter on one farm. A cost benefit analysis of these intervention measures will also be conducted. This project will generate sound science to validate the potential value of low cost interventions through the application of tightly controlled field studies. Transfer of knowledge is assured via direct involvement of the Teagasc specialist advisors and via collaboration with relevant stakeholders in DAFM, the pig producers and processors.

Expected benefits

  • The outcome of this project will directly support the DAFM National Pig Salmonella Control Programme as it aims to find ways to reduce the incidence of Salmonella on carcasses.
  • This project could benefit the pig industry by ~€5.9 million pa, as 14.5% of herds currently have a Salmonella prevalence of >50% which equates to ~49000 pigs which would lose their Bord Bia status and consequentially their market if they remain at this prevalence for more than a year.
  • This project could increase competitiveness of the Irish pig industry by helping to achieve Salmonella-free status for Irish pigmeat.
  • If effective, the strategies and dietary interventions tested could be recommended to DAFM for use on high prevalence farms.

Teagasc Personnel:

Funding body:

  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2007-2013


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