A control plan for Salmonella is designed to reduce the incidence of Salmonellas of public health significance in layers producing eggs for human consumption. The new EU legislation (Regulation 2160/2003) introduces, across the EU, a new sampling and testing regime for laying hens. This is based on a target for each member state which the Commission has set following a baseline survey of the prevalence of Salmonella in laying flocks which took place some 3 years ago.
The sampling regime requires environmental sampling. From 1st January 2009, where either Salmonella Enteritidis or Salmonella Typhimurium is detected, restrictions will be placed on the flock and the eggs will be required to be heat treated. Legislation does allow a producer to opt for ‘confirmatory’ samples of either enhanced environmentals, or the oviduct/caeca, or eggs, to be tested.
I believe that for any farmer involved in egg production it is important to have in place a control programme (regardless of any legislation), which would include high levels of biosecurity, proper rodent control, and vaccination of laying hens against Salmonella.