Incidence of Salmonellosis Halved in EU

EU - A new report confirms that EU measures have helped reduce human cases of salmonellosis almost by half in five years.
calendar icon 23 March 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

Human salmonellosis cases were reduced almost by half over a five-year period, from 196,000 cases in 2004 to 108,000 cases in 2009, thanks to measures introduced by the European Union, a report confirms. The 2009 EU summary report on zoonoses is published today by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The success story, as documented by this report, dates back to 2003 when the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Regulation which signalled the start of the implementation of enhanced Salmonella control programmes in all Member States. In flocks of poultry (e.g. laying hens, broilers, turkeys) targets for reduction of Salmonella were set, Member States introduced control programmes and restrictions on the trade of products from infected flocks were imposed.

John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy said: "The EU has made great strides in its battle against Salmonella and the consistent fall in the number of cases is testament to the strong, comprehensive measures put in place by the Member States to tackle this disease. The Commission has at no point stopped monitoring or reacting to the challenge of Salmonella and the current EFSA/ECDC report clearly illustrates the improved situation and positive developments". To conclude: "The European consumers must rest assured that the fight against zoonotic agents will continue relentlessly, always aiming to further reduce their incidence."

What is salmonellosis?

Human salmonellosis is usually characterised by the acute onset of fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms are often mild and most infections are self-limiting, lasting a few days. However, in some patients, the infection may be more serious and the associated dehydration can be life threatening. In 2010, EFSA estimated the overall burden of human salmonellosis in the EU between €0.2 billion and €3 billion per year.

The common reservoir of Salmonella is the intestinal tract of a wide range of animals, which result in a variety of foodstuffs covering both food of animal and plant origin as sources of infections. Transmission often occurs when organisms are introduced in food preparation areas and are allowed to multiply in food, e.g. due to inadequate storage temperatures, inadequate cooking or cross contamination of food. The organism may also be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or humans or faecally contaminated environments.

So far, eggs and poultry meat have been most associated with human infection.


In 2003, Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and the Council on the control of Salmonella and other specified zoonotic agents was the start of a extended EU wide control programme for zoonoses, considering Salmonella as a priority. Gradually targets for reduction, national control programmes and trade restriction for products from infected flocks were introduced for: breeding hens, laying hens, broilers and turkeys.

All data on the Salmonella monitoring of animals, food and humans are forwarded by the Member States to ECDC and EFSA. The latest summary report on the 2009 data shows a clear favourable trend in humans cases, human outbreaks and poultry flocks.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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