Salmonella cases decreasing in EU

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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BRUSSELS, Belgium – Salmonella cases in the European Union declined by almost 9 percent in 2010, while cases of Campylobacter have been steadily rising over the last five years, according to an annual report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The prevalence of Salmonella in poultry is also declining.

The report attributes the decreasing Salmonella cases in humans to concerted efforts to control Salmonella in poultry, particularly laying hens. Salmonella was found mostly in chicken and turkey meat, according to the report. In the EU, the pathogen accounted for 99,020 reported cases in 2010 compared to 108,618 in 2009.

“The positive progress in the reduction of Salmonella cases in humans and poultry is continuing and the majority of Member States met the targets set for the reduction of Salmonella in different poultry flocks in 2010,” said Claudia Heppner, EFSA’s acting director of Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance.

Campylobacter cases have been on the rise for five consecutive years, with 7 percent more reported cases in 2010 compared to 2009, according to the report. Campylobacter was found mostly in raw poultry meat.

“The increasing trends in human cases of Campylobacter highlight the need of further joint efforts," said Johan Giesecke, chief scientist at ECDC. "For this, EFSA and ECDC will continue to strengthen their links with all important partners and foster collaboration in order to decrease the occurrence of these diseases in the EU.”

Listeria infections in the EU are declining with 1,601 confirmed cases in 2010. Overall, 5,262 foodborne outbreaks were recorded in the EU in 2010, the report states. The outbreaks affected more than 43,000 people and 25 people died. Salmonella was reported in 31 percent of all outbreaks. Viruses, such as noroviruses accounted for 15 percent, and Campylobacter accounted for 9 percent of the outbreaks, according to the report.

Eggs, egg products, buffet meals, vegetables and "derived" products were the major food sources in the outbreaks.

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