Infectious Diseases 2018

Infectious Diseases 2018

Audit finds Polish food companies’ tests for Salmonella are ineffective

9 September, 2018

A European audit was carried out in Poland from 6 to 15 February 2018 as part of the published Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety audit programme. The objective of the audit was to evaluate the actions taken by the Polish competent authority in order to control Salmonella, in particular the implementation of the Salmonella National Control Programmes in different poultry populations. Subsequent to the latest previous audit (2015) and the Salmonella outbreak of 2016, the Polish competent authorities have made several changes to the Salmonella National Control Programmes, to relevant national legal instruments, and to instructions and official checks related to the Salmonella National Control Programmes. Official controls in place respect (and sometimes exceed) the planned frequencies of on-site inspections, and detected and effectively imposed correction of food business operator non compliances with requirements. Verification of the performance of official controls is in place and has also detected and obtained correction of shortcomings with the official checks. The Salmonella National Control Programmes in Poland are generally in line with EU requirements and well implemented and correct restrictive measures were imposed and/or taken by farmers when needed and mostly well documented. However, for laying hens in particular, the epidemiological investigations have frequently not managed to identify the source of infection and ECDC-EFSA data indicates that this infection is likely to still be ongoing in Poland. The Competent Authority has taken some steps to address this and, in particular, intends to establish dedicated epidemiological teams from 2018. The implementation of the Salmonella National Control Programmes has achieved low Salmonella prevalence, in compliance with Union targets, for broilers and for breeding and fattening turkeys. Provisional data for the first semester of 2017 indicates that for breeding hens those targets may also be achieved but not for laying hens. In 2016, the level of detection of salmonella in turkey fatteners and in broilers was approximately 100 times lower in food business operator sampling versus official sampling and for the 1st semester of 2017, for breeding chickens, there were 10 positive flocks with 9 of these detected only in official sampling which is much less frequent than food business operator sampling. The much lower rate of detection of food business operator sampling renders this element practically ineffective to detect Salmonella, which may be a reason that outbreaks still occur even when all other Salmonella National Control Programmes measures are correctly in place.