Processed animal intestines are used to make edible sausage casings. “Natural casings” are traded worldwide and may come from areas where notifiable infectious animal diseases are prevalent, such as foot and mouth disease, classical swine fever or African swine fever.
Natural casings generally consist of a thin collagen-rich layer which is part of the intestines from pigs, cattle, sheep or goats. Before use, the casings are preserved by salt treatment in accordance with European guidelines.
Outbreaks of animal diseases can occur when contaminated products unintendedly enter the food chain. That is why the salt treatment must be shown to be undeniably effective in inactivating these various viruses.
Model that simulates a natural casing
Researchers at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, have developed an in-vitro 3D model that simulates a natural casing. This model can be used to predict and validate the outcome of decontamination procedures without requiring animal testing, available for industrial application. This innovative approach reduces the experimental animal use, contributes to the safety of these animal products and helps to prevent outbreaks of notifiable animal diseases.