A new study has measured the potential hazards found during preparation of pork in the home. It used Salmonella-contaminated pork products to measure how easy it is to inadvertently contaminate other foodstuffs when preparing pork.
Three types of pork products were chosen: pork cuts, minced pork burgers, and fermented sausages. It showed – unsurprisingly – that heating is very efficient at lowering risk, but does not eliminate risks from cross-contamination.
Key controls that added significant risk included refrigerator temperature, storage time, insufficient knife cleaning and – for minced meat – cleaning of chopping boards. For fermented sausage it was found that drying is a key control for Salmonella reduction. Results also indicated that Salmonella levels on products may increase significantly during storage.
While this study demonstrated the key risks when preparing and cooking pork using Salmonella as an indicator, improperly-prepared pork carries other risks too; while we may not see the traditional risks associated with pork such as tapeworms so much in the UK, about 10% of sausages sold here are contaminated with Hepatitis E.