UK - After sustained lobbying by the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has made available funding that means that broiler farmers can now test for Campylobacter on their farms for free.
Gary Ford, NFU chief poultry adviser, said: I am pleased that the NFU have been successful in obtaining this funding. I believe that testing is an important part of better understanding the status of Campylobacter on farm.
"As Campylobacter does not appear to adversely affect bird health it is difficult for farmers to identify the point at which their flock goes positive for the disease."
The AFBI laboratory in Belfast will be testing the samples provided by farmers. Farmers will be asked to register on line and complete a short questionnaire, which includes farm details, number of sheds and other details.
The appropriate number of test kits will then be issued directly to the farmer together, with instructions on how to collect the sample (similar to taking a sample for Salmonella). Funding for this initiative ends on 31 March 2015 so it is important to get involved as soon as possible.
NFU is asking farmers to send a copy of the Food Chain Information sheet (FCI), together with a short questionnaire back to the laboratory in a pre-paid envelope, along with the actual sample taken.
A text message, containing the results of the test, will then be sent to the farmer within 24 hours of receipt. The data collected will be used to establish if there is a pattern or link between negative test results and what is happening on farm.
For example, there may be a link with litter quality, the use of antibiotics or a known stress event during the growing of the birds.
The results, once analysed, will be made available to the industry on an anonymous basis and will hopefully provide answers, or at least clues, to tackling this huge issue for the industry.
ThePoultrySite News Desk