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Effect of withdrawing feed from swine on meat quality and prevalence of Salmonella colonization at slaughter

W. E. Morgan MorrowDepartment of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.

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 BVSc, PhD
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M. Todd SeeDepartment of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.

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Joan H. EisemannDepartment of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.

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Peter R. DaviesDepartment of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606-8401.
Present address is EpiCentre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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Kelly ZeringDepartment of Agriculture and Resource Economics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether withholding feed from pigs prior to slaughter had any effects on meat quality, percentage of pigs with Salmonella spp in cecal contents during slaughter, or percentage of pigs with lacerations of the gastrointestinal tract during slaughter.

Design—Split-plot design.

Animals—873 pigs.

Procedures—At the finishing barn, pigs were assigned to 30 pens. Feed withdrawal times were assigned to pens at random, and pigs in each pen were marketed in 3 groups. The first marketing group consisted of the 10 heaviest pigs in each pen, the second consisted of the next 10 heaviest pigs, and the third consisted of all remaining pigs.

Results—Withdrawing feed improved the redness score assigned to the meat but did not have any other significant effects on carcass composition or meat quality. The percentage of pigs with Salmonella spp in the cecal contents decreased from the first (73%) to the second (64%) to the third (52%) marketing group. However, isolation of Salmonella spp from cecal contents was not associated with feed withdrawal time or with pen prevalence of Salmonella shedding during the 2 months prior to slaughter. Feed withdrawal time and marketing group did not have any significant effects on overall prevalence of gastrointestinal tract lacerations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that withdrawal of feed from pigs prior to slaughter does not increase the prevalence of Salmonella colonization or the risk of carcass contamination associated with gastrointestinal tract lacerations during slaughter but only slightly enhances meat quality. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:497–502)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether withholding feed from pigs prior to slaughter had any effects on meat quality, percentage of pigs with Salmonella spp in cecal contents during slaughter, or percentage of pigs with lacerations of the gastrointestinal tract during slaughter.

Design—Split-plot design.

Animals—873 pigs.

Procedures—At the finishing barn, pigs were assigned to 30 pens. Feed withdrawal times were assigned to pens at random, and pigs in each pen were marketed in 3 groups. The first marketing group consisted of the 10 heaviest pigs in each pen, the second consisted of the next 10 heaviest pigs, and the third consisted of all remaining pigs.

Results—Withdrawing feed improved the redness score assigned to the meat but did not have any other significant effects on carcass composition or meat quality. The percentage of pigs with Salmonella spp in the cecal contents decreased from the first (73%) to the second (64%) to the third (52%) marketing group. However, isolation of Salmonella spp from cecal contents was not associated with feed withdrawal time or with pen prevalence of Salmonella shedding during the 2 months prior to slaughter. Feed withdrawal time and marketing group did not have any significant effects on overall prevalence of gastrointestinal tract lacerations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that withdrawal of feed from pigs prior to slaughter does not increase the prevalence of Salmonella colonization or the risk of carcass contamination associated with gastrointestinal tract lacerations during slaughter but only slightly enhances meat quality. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:497–502)