Scientific Opinion on an estimation of the public health impact of setting a new target for the reduction of Salmonella in turkeys

Salmonella, poultry, turkeys, source attribution, microbial subtyping, targets
First published in the EFSA Journal
13 April 2012
8 March 2012
Scientific Opinion

Competing interests: One member of the Panel did not participate in the discussion on the subject referred to above because of potential conflicts of interest identified in accordance with the EFSA policy on declarations of interests.


The quantitative contribution of turkeys and other major animal-food sources to the burden of human salmonellosis in the European Union was estimated. A ‘Turkey Target Salmonella Attribution Model’ (TT-SAM) based on the microbial-subtyping approach was used. TT-SAM includes data from 25 EU Member States, four animal-food sources of Salmonella and 23 Salmonella serovars. The model employs 2010 EU statutory monitoring data on Salmonella in animal populations (EU baseline survey data for pigs), data on reported cases of human salmonellosis and food availability data. It estimates that 2.6 %, 10.6 %, 17.0 % and 56.8 % of the human salmonellosis cases are attributable to turkeys, broilers, laying hens (eggs) and pigs, respectively. The top-6 serovars of fattening turkeys that contribute most to human cases are S. Enteritidis, S. Kentucky, S. Typhimurium, S. Newport, S. Virchow and S. Saintpaul. Comparing the prevalence of Salmonella in turkey flocks reported in 2010 with a theoretical combined prevalence for S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium of 1 % (i.e. the transitional target), a reduction of 0.4 % in the percentage of turkey-associated human salmonellosis cases would be achieved. However, when adjusting the combined prevalence of all serovars to 1 %, an 83.2 % reduction in the percentage of turkey-associated human salmonellosis cases, equivalent to 2.2 % of all human salmonellosis cases, is expected. Uncertainty and data limitations are discussed, including recommendations on how these could be overcome. Vertical transmission of Salmonella as well as hatchery acquired Salmonella contamination originating from breeding stock are very important sources for Salmonella infection in turkeys, and therefore controlling Salmonella in breeding flocks as well as in rearing and fattening flocks is necessary to minimise Salmonella in turkeys at slaughter.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Olivier Andreoletti, Herbert Budka, Sava Buncic, John D Collins, John Griffin, Arie Havelaar, James Hope, Günter Klein, Kostas Koutsoumanis, James McLauchlin, Christine Müller-Graf, Christophe Nguyen-The, Birgit Noerrung, Luisa Peixe, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, John Sofos, John Threlfall, Ivar Vågsholm, Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch.
Panel on Biological Hazards
biohaz [at]
EFSA Journal 2012;10(4):2616
Question Number
On request from
European Commission