Meat Juice serology underestimates prevalence of Salmonella in pig herds
International Conference on the Epidemiology and Control of Biological, Chemical and Physical Hazards in Pigs and Pork
Salmonella serology is used for classifying pig herds in risk categories in several national quality programs. Meat juice is used as test matrix in most of these programs. Two studies were done to compare the salmonella ELISA test results from meat juice with blood serum as a reference. Pig blood and meat samples for these studies were collected in one slaughterhouse. ELISA tests were done with a commonly applied commercial test. In the first study paired blood serum and meat juice samples from
... juice samples from 182 pigs were collected and tested in two different laboratories. In the second study meat and blood samples were collected from 470 herds, over 20.000 samples for each matrix. The first study showed a linear relation between all matrices, but the OD values in meat juice were significantly lower than in blood serum. To obtain comparable outcomes in serum and meat juice, the blood serum OD%-values had to be reduced with 20 to 40%, depending on the lab that applied the test. This underestimation was confirmed in the second study. When the diagnostic cut off, OD10%, was applied on the blood samples, over 57% of the tested pigs showed antibodies and none of the slaughtered herds had fully negative serology, whereas with meat juice and a cut off at OD40% only 7,5% pigs were positive. It is concluded that meat juice testing for Salmonella antibodies can heavily underestimate the proportion of pigs that have encountered a salmonella infection. Consequently, pigs from herds that are categorised as low risk may be infected with salmonella. These pigs may therefore contaminate the lairage and the slaughter line. Monitoring results based on blood serology can not be compared with results based on meat juice, without taking care of the observed differences.