Salmonella has been detected in 16 tons of poultry imported to the Czech Republic from Poland since mid-April, according to the Czech State Veterinary Administration (SVS).

SVS has ordered emergency veterinary measures for 12 recipients of poultry consignments since the rules were put in place in April. Eleven incidents have involved chicken and one related to turkey. If Salmonella is found in poultry meat, the importer has to carry out further laboratory testing.

Most contaminated meat had likely been consumed because test results were not received before the expiration date of the products, but no related illnesses have been reported.

Recipients of poultry meat for which the State Veterinary Administration identifies the presence of Salmonella must have further consignments from the same country examined by a laboratory before the meat is placed on the market again. Only after receiving a satisfactory result from an accredited laboratory can they release the product.

If Salmonella is shown in the meat, the entire batch must be destroyed and sanctions can reach up to 50 million Czech Koruna ($2 million).

In the past week, the Czech Republic has made 11 Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alerts involving detection of Salmonella in meat from Poland. Affected products are chilled chicken breast and chilled turkey legs and strains include Bardo, Infantis and Newport.

The measures apply only to poultry meat and were agreed in April by SVS and the Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman due to repeated findings of Salmonella in this product during the spring.

They are targeted and individual measures to protect public health linked to specific consignments unlike the blanket checks on Polish beef earlier this year.

Czech Republic lifted checks on beef from Poland in late March after the European Commission called them “disproportionate”.

The extraordinary veterinary measures involved testing all Polish beef in an accredited lab at a cost to the importer before it was placed on the market following detection of Salmonella.

They were established after revelations an abattoir in Poland slaughtered sick cows and sent the meat to EU countries.

Polish authorities presented at a meeting of the Biological Safety of the Food Chain section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed in mid-May on follow up actions taken after the illegal slaughter of cows was discovered in January.

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