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Stricter Salmonella Legislation on the Way

by 5m Editor
13 June 2008, at 8:30am

UK - Egg producers are facing new legislation aimed at reducing the already low prevalence of salmonella in eggs.

At eight per cent, the UK laying flock already has one of the lowest rates of salmonella in the European Union. However, Farmers Guardian reports Liz Akhzam of Animal Health saying that under the National Control Plan, the UK must reduce salmonella in the laying flock by a further 10 per cent over the next three years. She was speaking at the National Farmers Union (NFU) North East’s recent poultry board meeting.

In order to achieve the reductions, a rigorous testing programme has been introduced. Since February 2008, egg producers have had to test one of their flocks between 22-26 weeks of age and every 15 weeks thereafter.

They should also have been tested as chicks and two weeks before being moved to the laying unit or, if not moved, tested before coming to the point of lay.

Producers will also have an official annual test, which is likely to be supervised by Animal Health or Egg Marketing inspectors. There will also be hygiene checks: each producer will be visited over the next three years.

At the same meeting, Veterinary Laboratory Service (VLS) veterinary investigation officer Charlotte Featherstone explained that the measures are required under EU legislation. From February 2009, eggs from any flock having a positive salmonella test will be banned from human consumption, unless pasteurised.

Producers present at the meeting were extremely concerned about the financial implications and the effects on their businesses of having a positive test, according to Farmers Guardian.

View the Farmers Guardian story by clicking here.

5m Editor