The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published new survey results showing that salmonella species were present in 30.7% of commercial turkey flocks across the EU flocks destined for human consumption.

Tested over the period 2006-2007, figures also show that salmonella species were present in 13.6% of flocks kept for breeding purposes.

However, S Enteritidis and Typhimurium – the two types responsible for most salmonella-related food poisoning cases in people – were detected in only 3.8% of flocks reared for human consumption and in 1.7% of breeding flocks.

The European Commission is now using these results in setting national targets as part of the EU Zoonoses Regulation to reduce S Enteritidis and Typhimurium in turkey flocks across the EU. The EFSA Task Force is also recommending action at national level to reduce other serious types of salmonella which often cause human infections.

Salmonella levels detected in turkey flocks varied significantly between Member States. The UK had an overall salmonella prevelence of 32.2% in flocks for human consumption, while the two highest incidences were 78.5% for Hungary followed by 57.6% for Cyprus. Looking at S Enteritidis and Typhimurium, the UK had a prevelence of 4.6% while the Czech Republic had the highest prevelence (18.4%) followed by Belgium (7.1%).

The full report is available at the EFSA website.