Technical specifications on harmonised epidemiological indicators for biological hazards to be covered by meat inspection of poultry


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(6):2764 [87 pp.].

EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Working Group who prepared this report: Marianne Chemaly, Lieven De Zutter, Katelijne Dierik, Javier Dominguez, David Nolan, Isabelle Kemp and Petr Satran. Also the contributions of the EFSA’s staff members: Pia Makela, Giusi Amore, Marios Georgiadis, Elena Mazzolini and Francesca Riolo; as well as that of EFSA’s contractor: AusVet and its staff member Angus Cameron, and the peer reviewer Antonia Ricci for the support provided to this EFSA scientific output are gratefully acknowledged. EFSA also wishes to thank the members of Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection who reviewed the report.

Scientific Report of EFSA
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
8 June 2012
Published in the EFSA Journal
29 June 2012
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Parma Italy

In this report, harmonised epidemiological indicators are proposed for food-borne biological hazards to public health that are related to poultry and meat thereof and that can be addressed within meat inspection. These hazards include Salmonella, Campylobacter and extended-spectrum/AmpC beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli as well as generic E. coli as an indicator for process hygiene. An epidemiological indicator is defined as the prevalence or concentration of the hazard at a certain stage of the food chain or an indirect measure of the hazard that correlates to human health risk caused by the hazard. The indicators can be used by the European Commission and the Member States to consider when adaptations in meat inspection methods may be relevant and to carry out risk analysis to support such decisions. It is foreseen that the indicators will be used in the integrated food safety assurance system for poultry meat outlined in the EFSA Scientific Opinion, particularly to help categorise farms/flock and slaughterhouses according to the risk related to the hazards and process hygiene as well as setting appropriate targets. Depending on the purpose and the epidemiological situation, risk managers should decide on the most appropriate indicator(s) to use, either alone or in combination, at national, regional, slaughterhouse or farm/flock level. It is recommended that risk managers should define the harmonised requirements for the controlled housing conditions of farms and the requirements for food chain information. Member States are invited to organise training regarding the implementation of the indicators and the reporting of data generated by the implementation in accordance with Directive 2003/99/EC. The proposed indicators should be regularly reviewed in light of new information and the data generated by their implementation.

Meat inspection, biological hazard, epidemiological indicators, poultry
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