The inclusion of deep tissue lymph nodes (DTLNs) or nonvisceral lymph nodes contaminated with Salmonella in wholesale fresh ground pork (WFGP) production may pose risks to public health. To assess the relative contribution of DTLNs to human salmonellosis occurrence associated with ground pork consumption and to investigate potential critical control points in the slaughter-to-table continuum for the control of human salmonellosis in the United States, a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) model was established. The model predicted an average of 45 cases of salmonellosis (95% CI = [19, 71]) per 100,000 Americans annually due to WFGP consumption. Sensitivity analysis of all stochastic input variables showed that cooking temperature was the most influential parameter for reducing salmonellosis cases associated with WFGP meals, followed by storage temperature and Salmonella concentration on contaminated carcass surface before fabrication. The input variables were grouped to represent three main factors along the slaughter-to-table chain influencing Salmonella doses ingested via WFGP meals: DTLN-related factors, factors at processing other than DTLNs, and consumer-related factors. The evaluation of the impact of each group of factors by second-order Monte Carlo simulation showed that DTLN-related factors had the lowest impact on the risk estimate among the three groups of factors. These findings indicate that interventions to reduce Salmonella contamination in DTLNs or to remove DTLNs from WFGP products may be less critical for reducing human infections attributable to ground pork than improving consumers’ cooking habits or interventions of carcass decontamination at processing.
- Ground pork
- Monte Carlo simulation
- slaughterhouse-to-table pathway
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Physiology (medical)