Salmonella reported in a quarter of EU broiler flocks

A survey of broiler flocks across the EU has revealed that almost one in four flocks tested positive for salmonella, much higher than that seen in the UK.

Compiled by the European Food Safety Authority’s Zoonoses Task Force, the survey looked at a total of 6,325 holdings corresponding to 7,440 flocks in 2005-2006.  The aim was to establish a baseline prevalence.

Five faeces samples were taken from the flocks within three weeks prior to birds being slaughtered.

The presence of Salmonella was detected in 20.3% of the flocks sampled, equating to an EU weighted Salmonella prevalence of 23.7%.

Flock prevalence ranged from a minimum of 0% (Sweden) to a maximum of 68.2% (Hungary).  High rates were also observed for Poland (58.2%), Portugal (43.5%) and Spain (41.2%) while the UK only had a rate of 8.3%.

In light of the findings, the European Commission will set targets by July 1 for cutting levels of the two strains of Salmonella which most commonly cause food poisoning in humans.

See May’s issue of Poultry World for more details.  (To subscribe, call 0845 0777744.)