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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Remote ante mortem inspection-Possibilities for improved sustainability in low-capacity slaughter

Kautto, Arja Helena; Medin, Ingrid; Almqvist, Viktor; Boqvist, Sofia; Vagsholm, Ivar


Official compulsory meat inspections (MI) are performed by official veterinarian (OV) on-site at abattoir. Scarce official control staff and travelling needs in low-capacity enterprises may be challenging and lead to negative effects for food business operators and competent authorities. Technical solutions could contribute to solve some problems and improve environmental sustainability, logistics resilience and working conditions. This study examined the feasibility of remote ante mortem inspection (AMI) in low-capacity abattoir using digital devices and commercial software (FaceTime) and measure the effects on control costs and emission of CO2. A comparison of AMI results performed on-site and remotely, of 1177 animals (786 sheep, 234 cattle, 90 pigs, and 67 goats) during 38 slaughter days 2022 was carried out. In total about 1.8% of the animals had non-compliances at AMI and mostly in cattle (16/234) followed by sheep (4/786) while all included goats and pigs were without noncompliances. All animals were declared fit for slaughter. On-site OVs recorded in total nine of the 20 noncompliances consistent with remote results. Overall agreement was 99.1%, Cohen's kappa 0.617 (0.391, 0.842) and prevalence and bias adjusted kappa (PABAK) 0.981 (0.967, 0.991). The remote veterinarian recorded more non-compliances than OV on-site (McNemar's test, p-value = 0.003). A reduction in driving by control staff reduced the costs and emissions of CO2; 93% and 89%; respectively.The overall agreement between remote and on-site AMI results was good. Inter-rater variability was obviously caused by subjective judgements for certain non-compliances, however food safety and animal health and welfare were not compromised by remote AMI. The use of digital devices to increase the sustainability of MI in low-capacity slaughter located in geographically remote areas can be an important part of the future risk-based meat safety assurance system when supported by a strong food safety culture and trust between competent authorities and food business operators.


Sustainability; Food safety; Control flexibility; Animal welfare; Animal health

Published in

Food Control
2023, Volume: 153, article number: 109967