Food safety aspects of different pig housing and husbandry systems
Following a request from the European Commission the Panel on Biological Hazards was asked to issue a Scientific Opinion on the Food Safety aspects of different pig housing and husbandry
Use of pig production systems based on good/hygienic farming practices, including provision of optimal animal welfare, increases the pigs’ resistance to infections and leads to a reduction of
the food safety risks associated with the resulting carcasses. Therefore, in principle, on-farm pig welfare assurance contributes to the resulting carcass meat safety assurance of the resulting
carcass meat. However, some on-farm practices that are considered beneficial for pig welfare such as holding in groups, use of bedding, use of non-slippery floors (that are difficult to
sanitise) and access to outdoor spaces, may increase risks of a greater survival rate of, and/or exposure to, and/or spread of, food-borne pathogens in slaughter pigs. It is important to keep
in mind that the closer to slaughter that a factor relevant for food safety occurs on farm, the greater is the carcass safety risk it poses.
Extension of coordinated animal welfare-food safety research programmes on the compatibility, or otherwise, of on-farm measures aimed at facilitating and improving either pig welfare or pork
safety, or both, should be encouraged and supported so as to improve the desired synergism between the two approaches. If food safety risks are increased by factors promoting animal welfare, it
is recommended to consider additional risk reducing measures before their implementation.