Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 34, Number 6, November-December 2003
Page(s) 737 - 748
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2003) 737-748
Vet. Res. 34 (2003) 737-748
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2003031

Listeria monocytogenes contamination of finishing pigs: an exploratory epidemiological survey in France

Pierre-Alexandre Beloeila, Claire Chauvina, Marie-Thérèse Toquinb, Christelle Fableta, Yolaine Le Nôtreb, Gilles Salvatb, François Madeca and Philippe Fravalob

a  Epidemiology and Quality Assurance in Pig Production Unit, AFSSA, French Agency for Food Safety, Pig and Poultry Veterinary Research Laboratory, Zoopôle, BP 53, 22440 Ploufragan, France
b  Hygiene and Quality of Poultry and Pork Product Unit, AFSSA, French Agency for Food Safety, Pig and Poultry Veterinary Research Laboratory, Zoopôle, BP 53, 22440 Ploufragan, France

(Received 2 January 2003; accepted 14 April 2003)

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen of major concern for public health in industrialised countries. Since L. monocytogenes carriage by pigs at the herd level could be a primary source for carcass contamination, control measures should be designed to reduce the L. monocytogenes load at the pre-harvest stage. For this purpose, an exploratory analytical survey was carried out in 2000-2001 in 93 French farrow-to-finish pig farms concerning L. monocytogenes contamination in pigs before they left for the slaughterhouse. On each farm, the L. monocytogenes status of a batch of contemporary fattening pigs housed in the same room was assessed on faecal material samples taken by means of gauze swabs wiped on the perianal region of the pigs. Fourteen percent of the batches studied had at least one contaminated sample and were therefore classified as L. monocytogenes contaminated batches. Two logistic regression models were used to assess the association between managerial and hygiene practices and the risk of L. monocytogenes contamination of the batch at the end of the finishing period on the whole data set ( n = 93) and in the wet feeding farms only (n = 57). Wet feeding during the fattening period was identified as a risk factor for L. monocytogenes contamination. Risk factors related to the introduction of L. monocytogenes in pig facilities were identified for both the general and wet feeding farm data sets. Poor care paid to hygiene on the farms was found to increase the risk of being infected (boots cleaning, change room presence). When the duration of the empty period prior to the introduction of growing pigs was less than one day in the fattening section, the risk of L. monocytogenes contamination was significantly increased. For wet feeding farms, a distribution pipeline cleaning procedure including disinfection was found to be associated with a higher risk of contamination than no cleaning or a procedure consisting of rinsing with water only.

Key words: Listeria monocytogenes / epidemiology / finishing pig / risk factor / wet feeding

Correspondence and reprints: Pierre-Alexandre Beloeil

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003