The sampling frequency for Salmonella in breeding flocks is to be reduced in the Netherlands after the country met European targets.

As of July, mandatory sampling for the monitoring of Salmonella by owners of poultry breeding flocks will take place at least every three weeks. People with these types of animals must currently carry out sampling at the hatchery or the farm holding every two weeks.

Testing for Salmonella is done to ensure food safety and public health. This is to try and prevent contaminated products from entering the food chain, said the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).

Because the Netherlands hit the European target in 2021 and 2022, mandatory sampling will be reduced from the start of July. The frequency of official sampling by authorities is also decreased. This means each flock on a breeding farm will be sampled twice per production round, instead of three times. The company C-Mark carries out this sampling on behalf of the NVWA.

European rules from January 2010 state that a maximum of 1 percent of adult breeding flocks in a member state may be infected with Salmonella Enteritidis, Infantis, Hadar, Typhimurium (including the monophasic variant), and Virchow. These measures at breeders aim to have a positive effect at the level of broilers and laying hens.

If a country meets this target for at least two consecutive years, the national authority may allow sampling at the farm to take place every three weeks. National agencies can decide to keep or revert back to a two-week testing interval in the case of detecting relevant Salmonella types in a breeding flock on the holding or in any other case it deems appropriate.

In 2020, the target was not achieved in the Netherlands and 1.42 percent of adult breeding flocks were infected with Salmonella. However, in 2021, the figure was 0.38 percent and in 2022 it was 0.25 percent.

In Germany, information from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) shows Salmonella was detected in six, or 0.8 percent, of breeding flocks in 2022, down from 4.8 percent in 2021. Only one of six findings in 2022 was for one of the five Salmonella types mentioned in the legislation.

Step up enforcement
The NVWA has also said it will issue stricter penalties in the equine sector if relevant requirements are not complied with. Regulations on identification and registration were tightened in 2021. The European rules mean there is a passport for horses, donkeys, and ponies.

Inspections by NVWA in 2022 at keepers of equine animals showed compliance with the revised regulations was low. In most cases, registration of the place of residence or of the animal at this setting was not correct. Reasons for non-compliance ranged from unfamiliarity with the rules to negligence.

Because violations concerned new regulations, NVWA did not impose a fine on offenders but issued a written warning. However, the agency said it will tighten supervision from now on.

Correct registration is important because it enables faster tracing of animals or animal products if an infectious animal disease outbreak occurs or if horse meat is contaminated.

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