Iceland has been authorized to apply special requirements concerning Salmonella in meat and eggs from domestic fowl and meat from turkeys.

A unit of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, granted the country the authority in January this year. The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) made the decision because the prevalence of Salmonella in certain animal populations or food was very low and strict national control programs apply.

The authority allows the Nordic island nation to require the specified food products, intended to be imported to Iceland from another European Economic Area (EEA) state, are accompanied by documents with specific statements concerning checks on Salmonella.

Consignments of such products are to be accompanied by a trade document or certificate stating a microbiological test has been carried out with negative results.

The EEA brings together EU member states and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in a single market. Iceland has a population or about 350,000.

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) is the country’s inspection body and competent authority in food safety, animal health and welfare, control of feed, seed and fertilizers, plant health, and water for human consumption.

In 2017, 35 confirmed Salmonella cases were because of a foreign origin of infection, 21 were infected in Iceland and for eight the origin was not known.

In July 2018, the Icelandic government submitted a request to the EFTA Surveillance Authority for special guarantees concerning Salmonella to be extended to Iceland for poultry meat and eggs. It included the Icelandic Salmonella Control Program for poultry farming and such products.

This program covers the whole of poultry production including domestic fowl, turkeys, ducks, geese and other poultry populations.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority and European Commission examined the program and it was presented by the Icelandic Government and discussed at a meeting of the Biological Safety of the Food Chain section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed in October 2018.

Provisions of the program concerning meat and eggs of domestic fowl and meat from turkeys were considered equivalent to those approved for Finland, Sweden and Norway, and in line with the guidance document and requirements applicable to turkeys.

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