Salmonella Control in the Colombian Pig Industry

Info

Start date: 1 May, 2019 End date: 30 April, 2021 Project type: Research collaboration projects in growth and transition countries (Window 2) Project code: 18-M07-KU Countries: Colombia Thematic areas: Food security and safety, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Universidad CES, Colombia Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA), Colombia PorkColombia, Colombia Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Denmark Project coordinator: Anders Dalsgaard Total grant: 4,995,300 DKK

Project summary

SalPork: finding good ways to raise food safety standards in the Colombian pork industry

As an emerging economy, Colombia has seen growing production and consumption of pig meat. Today, the country produces about 400,000 tons of pork per year, mostly consumed domestically but the country wants to grow its exports as well.

Veterinary and food safety are however key concerns in Colombian pig production. Research suggests that contamination with pathogens such as Salmonella affects pork products on the domestic market, and most abattoirs cannot meet strict international food safety standards. In a Strategic Sector Collaboration with Denmark, Colombia plans to raise the veterinary and food safety standards in its pork industry.

Reducing hazard contamination requires better surveillance and better control practices. SalPork, a public-private Colombian-Danish pilot project, aims to assess Salmonella contamination risks across the Colombian pork production chain, from pig farms to food products. For example at pig farms, bacteria may enter the chain through drinking water, feed, other pigs, wild birds, or rodents. Risks might be reduced through measures such as water acidification, feed fermentation, or better rodent control.

Downstream, contamination may occur during pig transport, slaughter or meat processing. Here, too, a range of potential measures could reduce risks, including better carcass singeing/flaming, hot-water or organic-acid washing, or intense cooling. SalPork will quantify current Salmonella risks across the production chain, identify high-risk places and practices, and identify those interventions that will reduce the overall risk to internationally accepted low levels most cost-effectively.

Grounded in evidence, SalPork’s conclusions will help future Salmonella surveillance and control efforts in Colombia. It will ultimately lead to safer pork products for the country’s consumers and better export opportunities for its many pig farmers.

Outputs

First year report
SalPork will quantify current Salmonella risks across the pig production chain in Colombia, identify high-risk places and practices, and identify those interventions that will reduce the overall risk to internationally accepted low levels most cost-effectively. Local researchers from public and private partners, e.g. those taking part in the Colombian-Danish SSC project on food safety, have with their Danish counterparts prepared all questionnaires and protocols for planned studies at farm, abattoir and laboratory levels. Experimental intervention studies on effect of water acidification and feed fermentation as means to control Salmonella at the pig farms are ready for implementation. The study teams are lead by two Colombian universities including five MSc students. SalPork has experienced some delays in particular due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the project period needs to be extended to ensure delivery of promised outputs and outcomes.

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