November 29, 2022


Salmonella identified as causing most outbreaks linked to meat products in China




Researchers have found that salmonella caused the most outbreaks linked to meat products in China over a 15-year period.


From 2002 to 2017, the country recorded 2,815 outbreaks caused by meat and meat products, resulting in 52,122 illnesses, 25,361 hospitalisations, and 96 deaths. However, before 2011, there was no mandatory reporting to the foodborne disease surveillance system.


Livestock meat was the most commonly implicated food category and improper processing was the main contributing factor.


Bacteria were the most common pathogenic cause of outbreaks and Clostridium botulinum was the top cause of death.


The proportion of meat products in the daily lives of Chinese residents is increasing, according to the study published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.


Outbreaks were seasonal and concentrated from May to September due to high temperature and humid climate, with August being the peak month. They were mainly in the eastern coastal and southern region, with the leading provinces for outbreaks being Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province and Guangdong Province.


Livestock meat, including those of pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, rabbits and other animals, was the top category behind outbreaks. This was followed by poultry meat, prefabricated meat products, and cooked meat. Livestock meat also caused the most illnesses, hospitalisations, and deaths.


Pork was the most common item leading to outbreaks, illnesses and hospitalisations while beef was behind the most deaths. Among poultry meat, chicken caused the most outbreaks, illnesses, hospitalisations, and deaths.


Bacteria were the top reason for outbreaks followed by chemical contaminants. Salmonella was the most common cause, followed by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, nitrites, Bacillus cereus, E. coli, and banned drugs.


"In China, bacteria are the most critical pathogenic factors, so localities should strengthen meat and meat product regulation according to the epidemiological characteristics of foodborne disease outbreaks related to meat and meat products," said the study's researchers. "The food safety awareness of residents should be improved by strengthening food safety health education, thus reducing the occurrence of foodborne diseases related to meat and meat products."


- Food Safety News

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