Cost of on-farm microbial testing for Salmonella: An application by farm size and prevalence level

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As the pork production industry moves closer to adopting and using Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) management systems, effective pathogen identification becomes necessary. Additionally, relationships between management strategies and prevention and/or reduction of pathogens on the farm is needed. An important component of these systems is the associated economic costs and benefits. Studies have assessed the economic costs and benefits of HACCP management systems that target specific pathogen reduction, such as Salmonella spp. in food animals (Morales, 1995; Perrin, 1993). Morales’ and Perrin’s research lacked an analysis of HACCP’s proactive approach to prevention of foodborne disease in the food chain. Existing research on economic analysis of HACCP has been limited. An application specific to the seafood and poultry industry was conducted by Martin (1993) and Curtin (1991)by Martin (1991)and for the food processing industry. Jensen and Unnevehr (1995) pointed out that “data on the incidence of pathogens in farm animals, the adoption of farm management practices, and the cost of these practices can be used to analyze the costs of reducing pathogens at the farm.” It has been noted that HACCP plans are often made with limited knowledge of onfarm pathogen prevalence. With the recent Pathogen Reduction Act of 1996 being put into law, the meat industry faces tighter scrutiny based on bacterial counts on meat products. USDA/FSIS efforts will be targeted at determining bacterial levels, including Salmonella, on meat products. Included in this law are specific goals or targets for the reduction of Salmonella. Tighter scrutiny and an increase in microbiological testing, first at the larger slaughter/processing facilities (500+ employees), will likely lead to industry adjustments. Additionally, consumers, domestic and international, have become more health conscious and more informed about outbreaks of foodborne disease. The meat industry has a goal of increasing and maintaining consumer confidence and maintaining product integrity. These regulatory, social, and consumer changes shaping the meat and animal production industry likely will be felt throughout the industry, including at farm level. This study evaluates the cost of on-farm Salmonella testing for selected prevalence levels and group sizes. Testing cost is size dependent; per pig cost declines as group size increases. Cost per pig in a group ranged from $5.37 for a 500-head group to $.49 per head for a 10,000 head group. Costs were projected with a 5% prevalence level and a 95% confidence interval.

Keywords: ASL R1413

How to Cite: Gorton, S. J. , Kliebenstein, J. B. & Beran, G. W. (1997) “Cost of on-farm microbial testing for Salmonella: An application by farm size and prevalence level”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report. 1(1).