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Summary

This study evaluates the occurrence of Salmonella in pork carcasses and in some risk tissues (ileum, ileocolic and mandibular lymph nodes and tonsils), that can be involved in Salmonella contamination during slaughter. Salmonella was identified in 27 (26.7%) pigs and in 13 (12.9%) carcasses. From these positive carcasses, 69.2% presented the same serotype as that identified in the corresponding pig, which emphasize the pigs importance as a source of Salmonella during the slaughter, suggesting that measures should be taken at the level of pig production in order to reduce the slaughtering of Salmonella-positive animals. The highest value of Salmonella occurrence was reached in the ileocolic lymph nodes (18.8%) and in the ileum (13.9%), representing Salmonella potential faecal source during pork processing at the abattoir. In these samples, a high level of Salmonella was observed in the ileocolic lymph nodes in comparison with the ileum. The mandibular lymph nodes (12.9%) also presented a higher occurrence in comparison with the tonsils (9.9%). These results indicate that the lymph nodes analysis could be more sensitive in the detection of Salmonella than the closer drainage tissue. Otherwise, the presence of Salmonella in the lymph nodes indicates lymphatic spread of the organism, which reflects an increased risk of pork contamination. These results also indicate that, in order to achieve a better control of Salmonella contamination during the slaughter process, it is important to consider the improvement of the evisceration practices and the tonsils as well the extraction of mandibular lymph nodes after slaughter.