New EU-initiative to tackle salmonella

On 1 August 2001, the Commission adopted a directive and a draft regulation in order to combat salmonella and other food-borne diseases. The two proposals will introduce national control programmes in the Member States and impose set targets on producers, starting with breeding flocks of chickens from 2005, laying hens from 2006, broilers from 2007 and turkeys and breeding pigs from 2008.

The European Commission wants to combat zoonotic diseases by imposing new controls affecting producers of breeding poultry, laying hens, broilers, turkeys and pigs. It adopted two proposals reviewing current legislation on the prevention and control of zoonoses. This action is part of the follow-up to the White Paper on Food Safety.

Thenew Directiveobliges Member States to adopt improved monitoring systems. It aims to make the monitoring of 8 types (instead of the previous 4) of zoonoses compulsory, and to strengthen the monitoring systems by enhancing co-operation and harmonsing the system for collecting data.

In addition, the Commission proposes adraft Regulationon the control of salmonella and other food-borne zoonotic agents. It establishes a framework for reducing the pathogens which cause zoonotic diseases, by setting EU-wide targets for zoonotic agents in specific animal populations. Producers of poultry and breeding pigs in all EU Member States will have to certify the disease status of their livestock. Tighter control measures are also planned for other food-borne diseases, including E.coli and listeria.


Every year, about 166,000 cases of Salmonella and 126,000 cases of Campylobacter are reported. One case in one thousand is fatal. Both diseases fall under the category of zoonoses, diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans usually after consumption of products of animal origin (especially farm poultry). Other zoonotic diseases are E. coli and listeria.


The analysis of monitoring data will be a task for the future European Food Authority.


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