Three EU member states have failed to meet their salmonella reduction targets for laying flocks, according to new EU figures, the first to be published since the introduction of national salmonella control plans in 2008.

Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia failed to meet their reduction targets, which are based on the prevelence reported in a baseline survey carried out back in 2004-05.

However, when looking at overall prevelence figures, Spain came out worst with 15.6% of samples testing positive for S enteritidis and/or typhimurium. Greece came second highest at 14.3%, followed by Luxembourg at 14.2%, then Latvia at 14.5% while Poland had 10.6%.

The focus on reducions meant that while Slovenia failed to meet its reduction target, its overall prevelence was only half that of Spain, which did meet its reduction target.

For the UK, only 1% of samples were positive which the British Egg Industry Council believes reinforces the status of UK eggs as among the safest in the world.

“The UK remains well ahead of the major European egg producing countries in terms of egg safety,” says Andrew Parker, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council. “We have already effectively eliminated salmonella from British Lion eggs, and the results of these environmental samples are a great credit to the UK egg industry, reflecting its huge investment in salmonella control.”

A similar EU report in 2006 showed that the UK was already the best country in Europe with a large national laying flock, with salmonellas of public health significance found on just 8% of flock holdings. The UK was set a target of a 10% year-on-year reduction and has met this with ease, with just 1% of flocks testing positive in 2008.

He highlighted that countries found to have higher levels of salmonella in the 2006 report were likely to take a number of years before their levels of salmonella fall close to that of the UK.