Review of historic ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection data

Last updated:
5 March 2010
This report reviews the data that are collected during ante mortem and post mortem inspection at abattoirs in Great Britain
Study duration: March 2010 to December 2010
Project code: MC1001
Contractor: Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CERA)


(FS245001) Current ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection procedures carried out by the FSA Operations Group (MHS) enable the identification of diseases of public or animal health significance and the monitoring of animal welfare. Inspections focus on detecting infections associated with visible or palpable lesions and legislation and inspection procedures enable animals and carcases unfit for human consumption to be excluded from the food chain. Inspection records on specific diseases and non-specific conditions and analysis of this inspection data (both current and historic) may have potential use in the monitoring of diseases and conditions. In addition, possible issues of quality or gaps within the collected data and recording procedures can be identified to improve the epidemiological surveillance of relevant public health, animal health and welfare conditions

Research Approach

An appraisal of historical inspection data collection procedures, recording forms and documentation were carried out and a listing by species of diseases and conditions to record (i.e. defining current data needs) was produced.
Historical inspection data was evaluated to obtain a listing by species, of diseases and conditions being recorded, data quality issues and variation (i.e. defining current data provided). The range of data was over three years (2007-2009).
Current data needs were compared with the current data to identify gaps and provide recommendations on these how gaps might be filled.
Findings were communicated via a final project report and poster summary.
The project findings will also be presented in a peer reviewed paper relating to veterinary surveillance strategies.


This report reviews the data that are collected during ante mortem and post mortem inspection at abattoirs in Great Britain. During the course of this work abattoirs and the FSA York offices were visited to understand how the data are collected and how the information is managed.

The requirement for data recording at the abattoir is well embedded in the inspection procedure. It is also important to note that at the time of this review data systems were in a transitional state, with the recent introduction of a new Next Generation AM/PM system to manage data from pigs and poultry.

Currently, the accuracy of data is compromised through variation in the recording of conditions at the animal level and the expression of a clear denominator. There is also the need for an administrative layer to remove complexity and check for consistency before data can be used more widely. It is recognised that many of the issues identified in this report are in the process of being addressed as the Next Generation AM/PM system extends to cover cattle and sheep.

Recommendations have been made with the objective of gaining maximum value from the data, as follows:

  • FSA should actively promote the availability the data.
  • The list of conditions must be reviewed regularly. The matrix of conditions and body parts, where appropriate, must be as concise as possible.
  • The working process should be clearly defined to add clarity for the recording of data for each species.
  • The data need to be described in a way that points out any limitations.
  • CCIR data should be promoted and developed across all the livestock sectors.
  • There needs to be a clear program for the longer term development of data systems management.