Salmonella in Pork Cuttings in Supermarkets and Butchers’ Shops in Denmark in 2002 and 2006


T. B. Hansen. National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Mørkhøj Bygade 19, DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark. Tel.: +45 35887556; E-mail:


The prevalence of Salmonella in fresh pork cuttings in Denmark in the years 2002 and 2006 was investigated at retail and compared with the retail supply pattern. A total of 1025 and 3473 samples were taken in 2002 from butcher’s shops and supermarkets, respectively. The corresponding numbers in 2006 were 259 from butchers’ shops and 628 from supermarkets. In 2002, 1.2% of all samples were positive for Salmonella; butchers’ shops and supermarkets had 1.8% and 1.0% positive samples, respectively. The overall prevalence in 2006 was 4.2%, with prevalence of 8.1% and 2.6% for butchers’ shops and supermarkets, respectively. Hence, increases around 3- to 5-fold were found. There was neither observed any parallel increase in Salmonella positive carcasses in Danish slaughterhouses during the study period, nor were any changes in supply routes towards slaughterhouses with higher prevalence observed, which could explain the apparent increase. We hypothesize that hygiene levels and ability to avoid cross-contamination and prevent growth of the organism, in the meat processing chain after slaughter were the most likely responsible factors. Results from this study indicate that the hygiene performance, particularly at retail, has a significant impact on the occurrence of Salmonella. This implies that there is no direct link between slaughterhouse Salmonella surveillance data and the level of Salmonella contamination at retail. To improve risk assessment of Salmonella in fresh pork meat, this study underlines the need for comprehensive retail data.