The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the results of an EU-wide survey on Salmonella in breeding pigs. The survey indicates that Salmonella is commonly detected in holdings with breeding pigs in most EU Member States. The report recommends further studies on surveillance for Salmonella in breeding pigs.
The survey was carried out in 24 Member States, Norway and Switzerland and all but two countries found some type of Salmonella in their holdings with breeding pigs. On average, Salmonella was found in 1 out of 3 holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says that figures vary greatly between Member States.
EU legislation foresees reduction targets for Salmonella in foods and animal populations as part of the overall EU strategy to reduce food-borne diseases in humans. EFSA’s survey results will support the setting of these reduction targets for breeding pigs.
The survey says that many types of Salmonella were found across the EU. The type that was most frequently detected was Salmonella Derby, followed by Salmonella Typhimurium. Many of these types, in particular S. Typhimurium, are reported to be causes of Salmonella infections in humans across the EU.
This was the fifth baseline survey for Salmonella in food-producing animals conducted in the EU. Throughout 2008, fresh faecal samples were taken from pens, yards or groups of breeding pigs and tested for the presence of Salmonella in atotal of 1,609 holdings housing and selling mainly breeding pigs (breeding holdings) and 3,508 holdings housing breeding pigs and selling mainly pigs for fattening or slaughter (production holdings) from 24 European Union Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The holdings were randomly selected and represented at least 80% of the breeding pig population in each country.
Salmonella is a major cause of food-borne illness in humans; it is usually contracted from eating contaminated food, especially of animal origin. Farm animals are important sources of Salmonella contamination of food. Salmonella in breeding pigs can potentially be transmitted to slaughter pigs and can contaminate transport and slaughter facilities. This may lead to Salmonella-contamination of pig meat and consequently to human disease.
EFSA’s previous work on the subject:
- Analysis of the baseline survey on the prevalence of Salmonella in slaughter pigs, in the EU, 2006-2007 - Part A: Salmonella prevalence estimates
- Analysis of the baseline survey on the prevalence of Salmonella in slaughter pigs, in the EU, 2006-2007 - Part B: Factors related to Salmonella prevalence in pigs
- Risk assessment and mitigation options of Salmonella in pig production - BIOHAZ Panel