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Book chapter - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Reindeer – wild game ante and post mortem?

Kautto, Arja H; Vågsholm, Ivar; Niskanen, Rauni


The official meat inspection (MI) in reindeer slaughter (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.) has been under continuous development since it was implemented in 1968. Location of slaughter houses in areas of geographical constraints, dependence on weather, and reindeer with low grade of domestication create logistic and economic challenges. The aims of this study are to describe the MI results from reindeer slaughter during 2013-2015, and furthermore, to explore the possibilities for simplification of the post mortem inspection (PMI) without compromising food safety or animal health and welfare. In particular, we aimed to compare the results of inspection of abdominal organs (AO; liver and kidneys excluded) performed by skilled slaughter house staff with that carried out by official control staff. The economic comparisons between current procedure of PMI which is dependent on slaughter speed, and the two other independent alternatives are also calculated. The findings in MI mainly relate to non-zoonotic parasites naturally found in the reindeer ecosystem. Traumata are seen more often than at slaughter of domesticated animals. Condemnations are rare and mainly caused by emaciation. The comparison of results of the PMI of AO generated by official staff and by trained slaughter house staff showed that these procedures were at least equivalent. Skilled and trained slaughter house staff could perform the first visual inspection of AO under the responsibility of an official veterinary in a reindeer slaughter house with easier logistics and up to 87% reduction of costs without compromising food safety, animal health or welfare. This indicates a current comparative disadvantage for the reindeer meat industry, not justified by food safety.


meat inspection; reindeer; cost; modernization; Sweden

Published in

Title: Game meat hygiene: food safety and security
ISBN: 978-90-8686-295-5, eISBN: 978-90-8686-840-7
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers

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      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 Zero hunger

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      Fish and Wildlife Management

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