An industry funded project to reduce the incidence of salmonella amongst pig finishing units is set to be launched to the sector at this year’s Royal Show by the British Pig Executive.

The ZAP2 database will speed the testing procedure for salmonella with producers being given the results two weeks after culturing, rather than the current six. Producers will be able to view their herd status on-line by logging-on to the ZAP database.

Their results will also be available for their veterinary surgeon, the abattoir, the producer-group and the relevant certification bodies to view. The database will also streamline administration, remove opportunities to enter duplicate information and eliminate errors in slap and herd marks. The system will also comply with EU regulations.

In the year to June 2006, 160,019 samples were collected and submitted by participating abattoirs. Of these samples 1934 (1.2%) were untestable; 4941 (3.1%) had an invalid herd identifier and 4290 (2.7%) had a slapmark that did not match those held on file for the herd number submitted.

Following the launch focus will shift to vets for the remainder of the year as the industry partners behind the initiative seek to improve herd status. The impetus will then shift to those with a prevalence of Salmonella in category ZAP1.

The industry is currently considering what penalties would be suitable and acceptable to encourage producers in ZAP1 to improve on their situation.