||The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently published a survey on Salmonella levels detected on commercial turkey farms across the European Union in 2006-2007.
The full range of Salmonella types were estimated on average to be present in almost one third of turkey flocks reared for human consumption (30.7%) and in 13.6% of turkey flocks kept for breeding purposes. Amongst the full range of Salmonella types, Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium (the two Salmonella types responsible for the majority of Salmonella-related food infections in humans) were detected in 3.8% of flocks reared for human consumption and in 1.7% of breeding flocks.
Salmonella is the second most reported cause of food-borne diseases in humans in Europe. Infections can range from a mild to severe gastroenteritis and in some vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, can be fatal. Risks for consumers are from under-cooking of meat or cross-contamination by raw meat of other foods. Thorough cooking and strict kitchen hygiene will prevent or reduce the risk posed by Salmonella contaminated turkey meat.
It is anticipated that these results will help the European Commission in setting targets to reduce Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium in turkey flocks across the EU. The EFSA Task Force is also recommending action at national level to reduce other serious types of Salmonella which cause human infections.
In the future, EFSA intends to publish a series of other baseline surveys on Salmonella and Campylobacter which are carried out based on sampling and reporting from Member States. A baseline survey on Salmonella in pigs reared for human consumption will be published over the coming months.
Further information is available from the EFSA website at: