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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Control of Salmonella and other zoonotic agents

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Control of Salmonella and other zoonotic agents

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 on protecting human health against salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

It aims to ensure the detection and control of Salmonella at every stage, particularly during primary production (in this context, the breeding and raising of poultry and other livestock) and in animal feed, to reduce its prevalence and the risk to public health.

KEY POINTS

Salmonella is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of healthy birds and mammals that can cause an illness called salmonellosis in humans through contaminated food, mainly eggs and pig meat and, to a lesser extent, poultry meat. Symptoms include fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

Scope

The regulation covers:

  • targets for Salmonella (and other zoonotic agents*) reduction;
  • approval of control programmes set up by EU countries and food and feed businesses;
  • rules on certain methods used to reduce prevalence;
  • rules on trade within the EU and imports from non-EU countries of certain animals and their products.

It does not apply to primary production for private domestic use or direct local supply in small quantities.

EU targets

After consultation with EU countries, the European Commission has proposed control targets in primary production. These are expressed as the allowed maximum percentage of herds or flocks infected, the required minimum reduction and the time limit within which this must be achieved.

EU targets, to be reached within 3 years from the start, in the respective year for each animal group, were set for the following:

  • 2007: Breeding flocks of chickens (Gallus gallus);
  • 2008: Laying hens;
  • 2009: Broilers;
  • 2010: Turkeys.

National control programmes

To achieve the targets, EU countries had to draw up national control programmes, covering at least feed production, primary production of animals, and food processing and preparation, in order to:

  • detect infection;
  • define the responsibilities of public authorities and food and feed businesses;
  • address specific control measures, in particular to protect public health, including how antimicrobials and vaccines are used (see Commission Regulation (EC) No 1177/2006);
  • evaluate progress and review if needed.

These national programmes had to be approved by and are co-financed by the European Commission.

Eggs

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1237/2007 amended Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 and prohibits the placing on the market of eggs from flocks of laying hens contaminated with certain Salmonella.

Other foodstuffs

Along the food supply chain, the measures required by Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 are supplemented by microbiological criteria for Salmonella, L. monocytogenes and other zoonotic agents or their indicators, which are set out in Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005. This lays down the microbiological criteria for certain microorganisms and rules for food business operators in respect of the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on food hygiene.

Microbiological testing alone cannot guarantee the safety of foods tested, but these criteria provide objectives and reference points to assist food businesses and authorities to manage and monitor the safety of foods.

Special guarantees forSalmonellafor trade to some EU countries

Flocks or food must be tested for Salmonella before trade to Finland, Sweden and Norway (live animals, eggs and meat), and Denmark (eggs), with the results included in the relevant EU health certificates.

  • Council Decision 95/410/EC regarding poultry intended for slaughter.
  • Commission Decision 2004/235/EC regarding laying hens.
  • Commission Decision 2003/644/EC regarding breeding hens.
  • Regulation (EC) No 1688/2005 regarding certain meat and eggs.

Imports

To be officially authorised to export to the EU live poultry, hatching or table eggs, non-EU countries must have equivalent control programmes. Such approvals are the subject of Commission Decision 2007/843/EC. Food exported to the EU must comply with food safety criteria and equivalent guarantees must be provided as regards process hygiene criteria.

European and national reference laboratories

The Commission has designated and finances the work programme of a European reference laboratory for each of the most relevant zoonotic agents. EU countries have designated national reference laboratories for the analysis and testing of these zoonotic agents.

Reports

Trends on the occurrence of foodborne agents in humans, food, animals and feed can be found on the website of the European Food Safety Authority. Of particular note is the fact that salmonellosis among humans has declined from almost 200,000 cases per year in 2004 to around 90,000 in 2014.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 12 June 2004.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Zoonotic agent: a bacterium, such as salmonella, causing infections or diseases transmitted directly or indirectly between animals and humans, for instance in contaminated food or through contact.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents (OJ L 325, 12.12.2003, pp. 1–15)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 have been incorporated in to the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision95/410/EC of 22 June 1995 laying down the rules for the microbiological testing by sampling in the establishment of origin of poultry for slaughter intended for Finland and Sweden (OJ L 243, 11.10.1995, pp. 25-28)

Consolidated version

Commission Decision 2003/644/EC of 8 September 2003 establishing additional guarantees regarding salmonella for consignments to Finland and Sweden of breeding poultry and day-old chicks for introduction into flocks of breeding poultry or flocks of productive poultry (OJ L 228, 12.9.2003, pp. 29-34)

Commission Decision 2004/235/EC of 1 March 2004 establishing additional guarantees regarding salmonella for consignments to Finland and Sweden of laying hens (OJ L 72, 11.3.2004, pp. 86-90)

Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs (OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, pp. 1-54)

Corrigendum

Consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1688/2005 of 14 October 2005 implementing Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards special guarantees concerning salmonella for consignments to Finland and Sweden of certain meat and eggs (OJ L 271, 15.10.2005, pp. 17-28)

Consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs (OJ L 338, 22.12.2005, pp. 1-26)

Consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1177/2006 of 1 August 2006 implementing Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards requirements for the use of specific control methods in the framework of the national programmes for the control of salmonella in poultry (OJ L 212, 2.8.2006, pp. 3–5)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1237/2007 of 23 October 2007 amending Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Decision 2006/696/EC as regards the placing on the market of eggs from Salmonella infected flocks of laying hens (OJ L 280, 24.10.2007, pp. 5–9)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 213/2009 of 18 March 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 1003/2005 as regards the control and testing of Salmonella in breeding flocks of Gallus gallus and turkeys (OJ L 73, 19.3.2009, pp. 5–11)

Commission Regulation (EU) No 200/2010 of 10 March 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards a Union target for the reduction of the prevalence of Salmonella serotypes in adult breeding flocks of Gallus gallus (OJ L 61, 11.3.2010, pp. 1–9)

Consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EU) No 517/2011 of 25 May 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards a Union target for the reduction of the prevalence of certain Salmonella serotypes in laying hens of Gallus gallus and amending Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 200/2010 (OJ L 138, 26.5.2011, pp. 45–51)

Consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EU) No 200/2012 of 8 March 2012 concerning a Union target for the reduction of Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium in flocks of broilers, as provided for in Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 71, 9.3.2012, pp. 31-36)

Consolidated version

last update 28.07.2016

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