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Welby S.,Unit for Co ordination of Veterinary Diagnostics | Govaerts M.,Coda Research | Vanholme L.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Hooyberghs J.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2012

Belgium obtained the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) officially free status in 2003 (. EC Decision 2003/467/EC). This study was carried out to evaluate the components of the current bTB surveillance program in Belgium and to determine the sensitivity of this program. Secondly, alternatives to optimize the bTB surveillance in accordance with European legislation (. Council Directive 64/432/EEC) were evaluated.Separate scenario trees were designed for each active surveillance component of the bTB surveillance program. Data from 2005 to 2009 regarding cattle population, movement and surveillance were collected to feed the stochastic scenario tree simulation model. A total of 7,403,826 cattle movement history records were obtained for the 2,678,020 cattle from 36,059 cattle herds still active in 2009. The current surveillance program sensitivity as well as the impact of alternative surveillance protocols was simulated in a stochastic model using 10,000 iterations per simulation.The median (50% percentile) of the component sensitivities across 10,000 iterations was 0.83, 0.85, 0.99, 0.99, respectively, for (i) testing the cattle only during the winter screening, (ii) testing only imported cattle, (iii) testing only purchased cattle and (iv) testing only all slaughtered cattle. The sensitivity analysis showed that the most influential input parameter explaining the variability around the output came from the uncertainty distribution around the sensitivity of the diagnostic tests used within the bTB surveillance. Providing all animals are inspected and post mortem inspection is highly sensitive, slaughterhouse surveillance was the most effective surveillance component. If these conditions were not met, the uncertainty around the mean sensitivity of this component was important. Using an antibody ELISA at purchase and an interferon gamma test during winter screening and at import would increase greatly the sensitivity and the confidence level of Belgium's freedom from bTB infection status. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Habib I.,Ghent University | Habib I.,Alexandria University | De Zutter L.,Ghent University | Van Huffel X.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | And 2 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2012

Surrogating Campylobacter contamination level in broiler carcasses with other bacterial indicators, used to evaluate the hygienic status of the slaughterline operations, might be stimulation to the broiler meat industry to improve control of Campylobacter during slaughter. Theoretically, Escherichia coli might have some practical merits as a potential indicator for carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter. This study investigates the correlation between the counts of E. coli and Campylobacter in 231 postchill broiler carcasses. The impact of setting a process hygiene target based on E. coli counts on reducing the frequency of carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter at level of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g was also investigated. Almost half (48.9% (46/94)) of the carcasses with enumerable Campylobacter (≥1 log 10 CFU/g) had E. coli counts between 3 and 4 log 10 CFU/g. In addition, 54.8% (17/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g were correlated with E. coli count range of ≥3 & <4 log 10 CFU/g. A theoretical scenario assuming that hygiene and processing measures could allow achieving a target for E. coli that not exceeding 3 log 10 CFU/g showed a parallel impact on Campylobacter contamination in broiler carcasses. In such scenario, the overall number of Campylobacter-positive carcasses could be dropped from 40.6% to 12.5%; in addition, 80.6% (25/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g could be eliminated. Findings from this study reveal that a hygiene target based on E. coli count could be used as an indirect sanitary tool for reducing the level of Campylobacter contamination in postchill broiler carcasses. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Van Damme I.,Ghent University | Berkvens D.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Botteldoorn N.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | Dierick K.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | And 3 more authors.
Food Microbiology | Year: 2013

Pig carcass swabs (n=254) and minced meat samples (n=82) were examined for pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica using different routinely used enrichment protocols. All samples were obtained in the context of the official Yersinia monitoring program in Belgium. In total, 28 carcasses (11.0%) were contaminated with Y.enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3 and one (0.4%) with bioserotype 2/O:9. Four minced meat samples (4.9%) tested positive for Y.enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3. Using the ISO 10273:2003 method, eight out of the 29 Yersinia-positive carcasses (27.6%) and none of the contaminated minced meat samples (0.0%) were detected. Reducing the enrichment time in PSB from 5 to 2 days increased the number of positive samples. Overall, enrichment in PSB at 25°C recovered more positive carcasses and minced meat samples than selective enrichment and cold enrichment. As the exclusive use of the ISO 10273:2003 method results in a strong underestimation of Y.enterocolitica positive carcasses and minced meats, efforts are needed to optimize the current version of the ISO method. In addition, isolation of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica requires experience and the use of a stereomicroscope to avoid false negative results. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Claeys W.L.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Schmit J.-F.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Bragard C.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Bragard C.,Earth and Life Institute | And 6 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2011

The output of a pesticide surveillance program (detection frequency and number of exceeding measures) can lead to unnecessary concern among consumers since they lack information concerning the actual exposure. In this study, the exposure to pesticide residues through fruit and vegetable consumption is evaluated based on the 2008 surveillance data of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC).Results (deterministic and probabilistic approach) demonstrate that the chronic exposure of the adult population (>15 years) is generally under control, even at high or frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables. For most of the pesticide residues studied, the exposure is one hundred times lower than the 'acceptable daily intake' or ADI. With regard to children (2-5 years) who consume regularly or large amounts of fruit and vegetables, there are however, indications that for some pesticides the ADI can be exceeded. Nevertheless, due to the large uncertainty in these calculations, a more detailed study is required for this vulnerable group of consumers. In addition, it was demonstrated that washing and peeling of fruit and vegetables result in an exposure that is probably five to six times lower. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Verraes C.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Van Boxstael S.,Ghent University | Van Meervenne E.,Ghent University | Van Meervenne E.,Belgium Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research | And 13 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2013

Antimicrobial resistant zoonotic pathogens present on food constitute a direct risk to public health. Antimicrobial resistance genes in commensal or pathogenic strains form an indirect risk to public health, as they increase the gene pool from which pathogenic bacteria can pick up resistance traits. Food can be contaminated with antimicrobial resistant bacteria and/or antimicrobial resistance genes in several ways. A first way is the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria on food selected by the use of antibiotics during agricultural production. A second route is the possible presence of resistance genes in bacteria that are intentionally added during the processing of food (starter cultures, probiotics, bioconserving microorganisms and bacteriophages). A last way is through cross-contamination with antimicrobial resistant bacteria during food processing. Raw food products can be consumed without having undergone prior processing or preservation and therefore hold a substantial risk for transfer of antimicrobial resistance to humans, as the eventually present resistant bacteria are not killed. As a consequence, transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes between bacteria after ingestion by humans may occur. Under minimal processing or preservation treatment conditions, sublethally damaged or stressed cells can be maintained in the food, inducing antimicrobial resistance build-up and enhancing the risk of resistance transfer. Food processes that kill bacteria in food products, decrease the risk of transmission of antimicrobial resistance. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

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