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Salmonella National Control Programmes in Poultry

by 5m Editor
31 May 2012, at 7:05am

UK - The UK poultry industry has an excellent record of Salmonella control and one of the lowest Salmonella prevalence levels of all the large poultry producing countries in the EU.

Since the 1990s, Government and industry-led initiatives, especially those linked to industry assurance schemes in the broiler and layer sectors, have put the UK in a very good position in terms of Salmonella control.

This has been demonstrated in recent years through the implementation of the Salmonella National Control Programmes (NCPs) in the breeding chicken, laying chicken, broiler and turkey sectors and the very encouraging results from the monitoring carried out under these programmes.

The primary emphasis of the NCPs is on reducing the prevalence of the most important types of Salmonella that can affect human health - Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium and a new type of Typhimurium called monophasic Typhimurium. In 2011, the flock prevalence of these target Salmonella strains in the UK was:

  • Breeding chicken sector - 0.07 per cent
  • Laying chicken sector - 0.17 per cent
  • Broiler chicken sector - 0.01 per cent
  • Breeding turkey sector – 0.0 per cent
  • Fattening turkey sector - 0.23 per cent

Chicken breeding sector – the UK is now effectively free of S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium. Overall, for both the layer breeder and broiler breeder sectors, every year, since the start of the NCP in 2007, the UK results have been significantly below the EU target of 1 per cent.

Broiler chicken sector – similarly, in this sector there have been only very low levels of S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium detected since the start of the programme in 2009 - 0.03 per cent in 2010 and 0.04 per cent in 2009, which is well below the EU target of 1 per cent.

Layer chicken sector – this sector has shown particularly good progress in controlling Salmonella, since the EU baseline survey results of 8 per cent for S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium in 2004/2005. Following considerable effort by industry since 2006, this prevalence was further reduced to 1 per cent in 2008, 0.36 per cent in 2009 and 0.25 per cent in 2010, all well below the EU target of 2 per cent.

Turkey (breeding and fattening) sectors – the NCP was only implemented in 2010 but after only one year of implementation, the 2010 results indicated a prevalence already well below the 1 per cent target: 0 per cent for breeding turkey flocks (as no S. Enteritidis or S. Typhimurium was detected during the year) and approximately 0.13 per cent for fattening turkeys.

However, it remains vitally important to maintain the focus on controlling Salmonella and the continued effective implementation of the NCPs, even though Salmonella prevalence levels are very low in the UK. In all instances, best practice for disease control such as biosecurity, disinfection, pest control and good management are key. It is also essential to maintain the current sampling regimes to demonstrate continuing effective Salmonella control and to identify and eliminate any newly emerging organisms that might represent a future threat. The NCP Guides and Codes of Practice for the Control of Salmonella are available here.

Expert advice is available from local Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Regional Office in Great Britain or Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Veterinary Services in Northern Ireland. Farmers wanting advice or clarification of their legal obligations regarding testing can also contact Industry bodies such as the British Egg Industry Council, the British Poultry Council, and the National Farmers Union for guidance. Further information on the NCPs is available on the Defra website.