Food Law News - UK - 2000

MAFF News Release (429/00), 7 December 2000

HYGIENE - MAFF Issues Advice on the Prevention and Control of Salmonella on Pig Farms

Surveillance results published today at a one-day conference in London on "Zoonotic Infections in Livestock and the Risk to Public Health" quantify for the first time the levels of salmonella, campylobacter and yersinia in farmed livestock in Great Britain.

A year-long abattoir survey funded jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Meat and Livestock Commission found a carriage rate of 23% of salmonella in pigs presented for slaughter and 5.3% carcass contamination. The carriage of salmonella in cattle and sheep presented for slaughter were 0.2% and 0.1% respectively

This survey provides MAFF and the industry with baseline data on which to measure the success of control strategies. It builds on previously published information (Salmonella in livestock production 1999) showing that reports of salmonella in cattle have fallen over the last five years, whereas the position in pigs was more constant.

To tackle the level of salmonella infection on farm MAFF today issued a code of practice on the prevention and control of salmonella for voluntary use on pig farms. The code provides a practical guide to control measures to help reduce the risk of salmonella entering the farm and, if present, to reduce the level and spread of the infection.

Other results presented at the conference show overall carriage of campylobacter in pigs, cattle and sheep presented for slaughter was 94.5%, 24.5% and 17% respectively. The state of knowledge about campylobacter is currently insufficient on which to build control strategies. However only 3.8% of the isolates found in pigs were C. jejuni, which is the predominant type of campylobacter causing human disease in the UK.

The code of practice is issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department. It has been drawn up in consultation with the National Assembly of Wales, Food Standard Agency, National Pig Association, the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Pig Veterinary Society. Similar codes are to be issued by the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Northern Ireland.

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