DEFRA Amends Salmonella Control for Breeder Flocks

UK - On 17 April, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) sent out a communication regarding amendments to the National Control Programme (NCP) for Salmonella in breeder flocks. The changes involve new sampling requirements.
calendar icon 6 May 2009
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There have been recent amendments to the breeding chicken National Control Programme (NCP) regarding new sampling requirements for poultry breeding flocks, reports DEFRA.

The National Control Programme (NCP) to control the five regulated serotypes of Salmonella that are considered by the European Commission to be of particular human health significance in poultry breeding flocks of domestic fowl came into force in January 2007. (The five regulated serotypes are as follows: are Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella Infantis and Salmonella Virchow.) NCP puts in place controls in the breeding flocks sector to ensure that chicks delivered to the broiler and layer sectors are Salmonella-free.

The target requires that no more than one per cent of breeding flocks with more than 250 birds remain positive for Salmonella of human health significance by the end of 2009. As part of an EU wide review of the NCP last year, the UK has successfully negotiated for a reduction in the frequency of operator and official sampling in Member States which have achieved their target for two years. Since the UK breeding sector has achieved the target the revised requirements are now available to UK producers.

The NCP sampling requirements as amended by EU Regulation 213/2009 enable operators to apply for a derogation for:

  • the frequency of operator sampling to be changed from every two weeks to every three weeks, and
  • the number of official control samples required to be changed from three to two per annum.

DEFRA reminds flock owners that although the sampling requirement has been reduced, the other provisions of the NCP, including the controls on breeding flocks where Salmonella is detected, remain in place. It will be up to the individual operator whether he/she would like to take advantage of this reduction in the operator testing requirements. Furthermore, the Competent Authority retains the right to revert to the earlier testing intervals in the case of a positive flock on the holding or in any other case deemed appropriate.

Flock owners who wish to apply for the derogation should inform their local Animal Health Office and amend your operating procedures accordingly.

Further information on the breeding flocks NCP is available in A Guide to the Poultry Breeding Flocks and Hatcheries Order 2007 and National Control Programme. Although this guide was produced before the negotiation of the sampling derogation, it provides a comprehensive description of the NCP sampling methods and other requirements and provisions. A link to further information and the guidance is available on the Defra web site (click here).

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