Microorganisms. 2021 Aug 27;9(9):1825. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9091825.
This systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of pre-harvest interventions to control the main foodborne pathogens in pork in the European Union. A total of 1180 studies were retrieved from PubMed® and Web of Science for 15 pathogens identified as relevant in EFSA's scientific opinion on the public health hazards related to pork (2011). The study selection focused on controlled studies where a cause-effect could be attributed to the interventions tested, and their effectiveness could be inferred. Altogether, 52 studies published from 1983 to 2020 regarding Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium avium, and Salmonella spp. were retained and analysed. Research was mostly focused on Salmonella (n = 43 studies). In-feed and/or water treatments, and vaccination were the most tested interventions and were, overall, successful. However, the previously agreed criteria for this systematic review excluded other effective interventions to control Salmonella and other pathogens, like Yersinia enterocolitica, which is one of the most relevant biological hazards in pork. Examples of such successful interventions are the Specific Pathogen Free herd principle, stamping out and repopulating with disease-free animals. Research on other pathogens (i.e., Hepatitis E, Trichinella spiralis and Toxoplasma gondii) was scarce, with publications focusing on epidemiology, risk factors and/or observational studies. Overall, high herd health coupled with good management and biosecurity were effective to control or prevent most foodborne pathogens in pork at the pre-harvest level.