Salmonellae are a known bacterial cause of food-poisoning incidents worldwide, and are common commensals of all animals and birds. These organisms can live in the digestive tract of a wide range of animals and birds.
Some types of salmonellae can affect humans as well as animals. Transmission to humans can occur when organisms, introduced into the kitchen in poultry carcasses, meat or unpasteurised milk, multiply in food due to inadequate cooking, cross-contamination of cooked foods and inadequate storage.
Many of the types of salmonellae that cause human food poisoning do not cause clinical signs in animals so monitoring is necessary to check levels of infection.
Human health implications
It is usually fairly short-lived illness. However severe disease can occur with high temperture , diarrhoea and blood poisoning. In a few cases infected animals or people may carry certain strains of the bacteria for prolonged periods.
The objective of the Zoonoses Directive (2003/99/EC) is to gather information in order to assess the risk to human health from sources of zoonoses and zoonotic agents in the domestic and wild animal populations.
The Directive aims to achieve this objective through enhanced monitoring of the trends and sources of zoonoses and zoonotic agents and related anti-microbial resistance and by ensuring that food-borne disease outbreaks receive proper epidemiological investigation. A further aim of the Directive is to move, when necessary and agreed, towards harmonised monitoring systems, e.g. using the same sampling methods, sample types and laboratory test methods to provide information on the trends and sources of zoonotic agents in the EU as a whole.
The requirements of Directive 2003/99 are implemented by The Zoonoses (Monitoring) (Scotland) Regulations 2007
The Zoonoses Regulation (2160/2003) deals with the management of risk of zoonotic infections in animals and is closely allied to the Directive. It requires that Member States implement national control plans (NCPs) for the reduction of specified zoonoses (currently salmonella) at farm level in certain animal species (currently domestic fowl, turkeys and pigs).
The Zoonoses Monitoring (Scotland) Regulations 2007 provide the legal basis for sampling work and act as a mechanism for monitoring implementation and progress of the NCPs. Reports on the EU-wide baseline surveys can be obtained on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) website.
National Control Plans (NCPs)
Under the zoonoses regulation all member states are required to implement NCPs. Goverment produce guidance on this:
- National Control Programme for Salmonella in Breeders
- National Control Programme for Salmonella in Layers
- National Control Programme for Salmonella in Broilers
- National Control Programme for Salmonella in Turkeys
Sampling and testing
National Control Plans (NCPs) place an obligation on operators to collect samples at predetermined intervals. These samples need to be submitted to an approved laboratory for analysis. A list of laboratories approved to conduct this work is available.
The APHA deliver a wide range of statutory inspection and certification services for businesses and individuals which support consumer confidence and facilitate the ability to trade. These statutory charges have been updated to align with government policy requiring that services of commercial benefit should be charged at full-cost recovery rate.
A variety of guidance is available:
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