The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published its recommendations for improving meat inspection procedures in the European Union (EU) after a previous assessment found that “traditional practices... are not always suitable for detecting the main meat-borne hazards such as Campylobacter and Salmonella or contamination by chemical substances.” Billed as “a major piece of work that will provide the scientific basis for the modernization of meat inspection across the EU,” the four new opinions address the potential public health risks of meat derived from solipeds, farmed game, sheep, goats, and cows, in addition to setting “harmonized epidemiological indicators” for identifying biological hazards.

Looking at data on the incidence and severity of foodborne diseases in humans as well as the outcomes of various residue testing programs, EFSA’s experts ranked the biological and chemical hazards of particular concern for each species, singling out verocytotoxin-producing E. coli, dioxins and dioxinlike polychlorinated biphenyls as the main biological and chemical risks for cattle, sheep and goats, and Trichinella and phenylbutazone as the main risks for horses. To help identify and control these risks, the agency has also issued universal inspection recommendations that address biological contaminants, animal health and welfare, and environmental contaminants according to level of concern. See EFSA Press Release, June 27, 2013.