Zero Salmonella approach in eggs remains difficult
Starting from the 1970’s, Salmonella Enteritidis has emerged as major food-borne pathogen, and eggs have been a main vehicle for the pathogen that caused spread to humans.
Salmonella can be present on the shell surface, it can also contaminate internal eggs after reproductive tract colonisation. In the latter case eggs are a 'box with Salmonella inside' that can't be eliminated using hygienic measures such as egg washing. The egg-associated pandemic reached a maximum in the mid 1990's to the early 2000's. In the European Union, legislation has been responsible for a serious reduction in Salmonella prevalence at laying hen farms, eggs and egg products and as a consequence human infections due to egg consumption.
These legislations forced member states to take action to monitor and control the pathogen, and reduction targets for prevalence have been produced. For laying hens, a maximum of 2% of flocks can be positive for Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium for each member state and a 'zero prevalence' for eggs has been set up, i.e. for 5x25g eggs or egg product at retail. 'Zero prevalence' is a difficult concept because of limits of sampling and detection methods, and because no control method is available that ensures elimination of Salmonella from laying hens or eggs. A 'zero risk' strategy is not realistic and most likely a 'maximum acceptable risk' strategy will need to be set up in the future. How to define the maximum acceptable risk is a challenge.
[Source: R. Raspoet, S. Kilroy, F. Haesebrouck, R. Ducatelle, F. van Immerseel
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Proceedings of the XIVth European Poultry Conference,
June 2014, Stavanger, Norway]
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