The UK poultry breeder sector has successfully secured from the EU a reduction in the amount of sampling needed under the salmonella National Control Plan.

These changes, which are to be spelled out in a letter sent out by the British Poultry Council to its breeder members, are because the UK industry has already met its target for the past two years. The target is that no more than 1% of breeding flocks with more than 250 birds remain positive for salmonella of human health significance by the end of 2009.

The amended NCP sampling requirements enable operators to apply for a derogation allowing the frequency of operator sampling to be reduced from once every two weeks to every three weeks. Second, it allows a reduction in the number of official control samples from three to two every year.

However, the BPC stresses that although the sampling requirement has been reduced, the other provisions of the NCP, including the controls on breeding flocks where salmonella is detected, remain in place. And it will be up to individuual producers or managers whether he/she would like to take advantage of this reduction in the operator testing requirements.

However, BPC adds that producers should also be aware that officials retain the right to revert back to existing testing intervals in the case of a positive flock on the unit or in any other case deemed appropriate.

If you wish to apply for the derogation, you should inform your local Animal Health office and amend your operating procedures accordingly.