Salmonella scare adds to pig mens woes

By Peter Crichton

PDNS and PMWS continue to hit output in many parts of the country.

Until recently this virus had been largely confined to East Anglia, where mortality in many rearing sheds had risen into the 20-30% range.

Canadian producers had faced the same problems in the late 1990s.

In spite of the size of that country, the disease had still managed to spread to a large number of units.

However their mortality levels were closer to 10% and this is thought by some veterinary sources to be due to a less virulent form of the virus thought to be linked to lower stocking rates on many Canadian units.

After 18 months the virus had abated and is no longer at critical levels.

If the same spread pattern is seen in the UK, PDNS and PMWS could be rife beyond East Anglia in the year ahead.

Recent news reports of contamination of UK pigmeat have hit the front pages this week.

According to recent MAFF checks salmonella of various types has been discovered in 5.3% of carcasses during abattoir testing procedures.

This equates to over 700,000 pigs out of a 13 million annual kill, translating to 23% of the UK herd bearing some levels of infection, according to MAFF.

The Food Standards Agency has stated that provided that normal kitchen hygiene procedures are followed and all pigmeat is thoroughly cooked, there is no threat to human health following these disclosures.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry

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