Web Seminar Questions

Questions to Mark Williams

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The Lion Quality scheme covers approximately 85% of UK egg production. There is no upper or lower limit on the size of breeder, pullet rearing, laying farm, or packing centre that can become part of this.

We have been working on version 6 to make it as up to date as possible, to include recently introduced legislation. Version 6 was circulated in draft to a number of people for their comments. These have now been incorporated into the new version which will come into use soon. All parts of the scheme will be informed.

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.

This is variable depending on which vaccine is used. A good guide is 0.10 per bird.

Work that is being carried out by Dr Rob Davies at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in the UK is demonstrating that where Salmonella has been detected on a laying farm, it can be removed if the producer implements a programme to control rodents and employs high standards of biosecurity. Vaccination would also help.

There is no direct link with Salmonella here. We do not allow the use of the following mainly as a consumer confidence measure.

Canthaxanthin – In the 1990’s there was much discussion about the use of colourants fed as part of the diet to fish (salmon) and laying hens. In particular, on the possible effects on the eye sight of children. While science showed there was nothing to worry about, we decided that its use in the Lion Code would be discontinued as a consumer confidence measure.

Lasalocid – In the EU there is a statutory residues surveillance programme in place. This monitors products for veterinary medicine residues. We have had instances in the past where cross-contamination in the feed mill led to coccidiostats being inadvertently transferred to the laying hens feed ration resulting in some eggs being found to contain minute traces of coccidiostats which were subsequently picked up in the programme. The results of the programme are published and in the past has resulted in some criticism of the industry. We therefore took the decision to prohibit its use in the Lion Code.

Growth promoters – there remain some opinion formers, media, and consumers who believe we feed our hens growth promoters. Therefore, we took the decision to make this statement in the Code.