UK National Plan published to control Salmonella and other Zoonoses

UK - The National Control Plans (NCPs) will cover farm animal species which present a high potential risk of transmitting Salmonella and other zoonotic agents to humans. These are poultry (breeding flocks of Gallus gallus, laying hens, broilers and turkeys) and pigs (herds of slaughter and breeding pigs).
calendar icon 21 December 2006
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They will be established to protect human health by achieving agreed targets through auditable 3 year programmes to reduce the prevalence of certain zoonoses and anti-microbial resistance in animal populations at primary production level and where necessary other stages of the food chain.

For a transitional period of 3 years the EU targets for breeding flocks of Gallus gallus will cover only the 5 most frequent serotypes in human cases (1) and the targets for laying hens, broilers and turkeys will cover only Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium. It is likely that these programmes will vary to an extent between the countries due to different circumstances. However, the Commission is expected to seek a certain uniformity of the programmes, and the Regulation already prescribes some minimum sampling requirements.

Public Consultation

National Control Programme for Breeders (Gallus gallus)
A programme to protect public health by updating and enhancing existing controls on Salmonella in poultry breeding flocks of domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) has been put out to consultation.

Defra is asking food producers, vets, consumers and retailers how they think the National Control Programme, which is required by a European Union Regulation, should be implemented. The consultation documents are available. A new release has also been issued.

The new measures, due to become law early in 2007, set a target for the breeding flock sector to ensure that no more than 1% of breeding flocks with more than 250 birds remain positive for Salmonellas of human health significance by end of 2009. These are Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Virchow.

These measures will replace and enhance existing controls contained in The Poultry Breeding Flocks Order 1993. The operators will also have to meet minimum sampling requirements to verify the achievement of this target and take special measures in the event that specific Salmonellas are discovered.

The breeding flock sector is already meeting many of the requirements of the National Control Programme, including the reduction target.

The deadline for responses to this consultation is 3 November 2006. Timetable for National Control Plans

A survey of laying hens for Salmonella was completed in October 2005. The results are available on the EFSA website.

A 12 month survey on the prevalence of Salmonella in commercial broiler chickens (Gallus gallus) started in October 2006. A further 3 surveys are due to take place over the next 2 or 3 years to comply with the Directive and the Regulation. These will cover Salmonella in turkeys and slaughter pigs in October 2006, and breeding pigs in October 2007.

The complete data of these studies will be presented in confidence to the Commission by all Member States for supply to the European Food Safety Authority for analysis. The results will be collated by the European Commission to assess levels of the specified Zoonoses in the EU, and this data can then be used by the Commission to propose targets for their reduction. This data will be made publicly available at the end of this process.

Within six months of the Community target for the reduction of Salmonella being set, Member States will be expected to submit their programmes to the Commission for approval.

The Scope of National Control Plans
The NCPs will cover at least animal feed production, primary animal production and processing and preparation of food of animal origin (on which the Food Standards Agency will lead). They will entail:

  • Defining the responsibilities of the competent authorities and the approval of laboratories for analysis of samples
  • Setting out control measures if a zoonoses of public health significance is detected
  • Regular assessments of sampling results
  • Registration of poultry operators and record keeping at farms for greater traceability and auditing

Role of poultry operators and industry
Food and feed business operators or their representatives are encouraged to establish their own control programmes. These must be approved by Defra and the operators concerned must make the results of their controls available for auditing.
These are: S Enteritidis, S Typhimurium, S Virchow, S Hadar and S Infantis.

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