Dutch Efforts to Address Salmonella

In 2005, officials in the Netherlands implemented a strategy to monitor salmonella levels on pig farms and in the nation's processing facilities. The goal was to identify points along the production chain where salmonella is a problem and institute control programs to reduce the prevalence.

On-farm monitoring consists of testing blood samples for the presence of antibodies against salmonella. Farms are sampled quarterly and given a score of 1 to 3 based on the percentage of positive samples with 1 indicating low or no infection and 3 representing more than 40% positive. In-plant monitoring is conducted on carcass samples collected in the cooling room and analyzed based on both serological and bacteriological tests.

In 2006, 73% of the herds were in category 1, 23% in category 2 and 4% in category 3 (which were advised to take steps to reduce salmonella prevalence). The average salmonella contamination of carcasses was 0.8%, which was below the EU standard of 10%. Those facilities with contamination levels exceeding 0.8% were advised to implement strategies to reduce salmonella contamination.

Based on the Dutch salmonella control experience and research projects here are their recommendations:

  • Put most of the salmonella control efforts into implementing measures to avoid contamination of carcasses during the slaughter.
  • Avoid cross contamination of salmonella between different herds in the lairage (holding area) of the slaughterhouse.
  • Reduce the salmonella prevalence at the farm level. The reduction results achieved at the farm level can only be converted into carcass salmonella reduction at the slaughterhouse if the slaughter line equipment contamination and potential cross contamination in the lairage are addressed.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, October 5, 2007