Finland fights salmonella effectively - results of salmonella control programme during EU-period have been published


<div>Food-poisonings caused by salmonella bacteria continue to be a significant problem in terms of national health and economy all over the world. The objective of the Finnish national salmonella control programme has been to protect consumers against salmonella infections by ensuring a low incidence of salmonella in poultry, cattle and pigs, as well as in eggs and meat obtained from them. The programme was initiated in 1995 with the approval of EU, and the objective has been well achieved during the ten-year period.</div>

The control programme is being implemented in its most extensive form in the production chain of poultry, where the salmonella situation has been kept excellently under control also in international comparison. The annual incidence of salmonella in flocks that produce consumption eggs has remained under 0.2%. No salmonella has been found in egg-type chicken breeder flocks, and in broiler and turkey breeder flocks the occurrence of salmonella has been max. 0.5%.  In meat-type flocks the incidence of salmonella has remained under 1.0%, with the exception of years 1995 and 1999. Less than 0.2% of bovine samples and 0.1% of porcine samples proved positive.

Also feeds and pet foods are controlled

Outside the control programme, studies have also been conducted on the occurrence of salmonella in feeds and pet foods. Salmonella is only rarely found in feeds, despite the fact that the incidence of salmonella in the imported feed raw materials of plant origin has been on the increase in the recent years. This is proof of the success of both the operators' in-house control and regulatory control.

Most infections are souvenirs

The average annual number of reported salmonella infections in humans has been 3000. Most of the infections were acquired overseas. 1 to 8 epidemics have been reported annually in Finland.

Cost-effectiveness verified by risk assessment

Quantitative risk assessments have been performed on broiler chicken, pork, beef, and egg production chains to evaluate the salmonella risk that consumers are exposed to. The implemented risk assessments have been designed to facilitate assessment of the functioning of the control programme, as well as the effectiveness of the costs invested in it.  The results confirm the low incidence of salmonella in Finland in foodstuffs of animal origin. The first cost and benefit analysis was completed for broiler chicken production, and it showed that the control programme protects consumers well against salmonella, and is also cost-effective. The salmonella control programme for poultry farms is reformed at the beginning of 2007. The reform focuses on sampling and investigation methods, but the principles of the control programme remain unchanged.

Publication: Salmonellavalvonta ja salmonellan esiintyminen 1995-2004 (Salmonella control and occurrence of salmonella in 1995-2004). Evira's publication 3/2006. and

For more information, please contact:

Food Safety Authority Evira
Mari Laihonen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24780, +358 (0) 50 386 8437
Mika Varjonen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24782
Sirpa Kiviruusu, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24216

National Public Health Institute (KTL)
Anja Siitonen, Research Professor, KTL, tel. +358 (0) 9 4744 8245

Related Categories: