1 January 2014 saw the introduction of the Danish Government’s fifth Salmonella Action Plan, the outcome of extensive negotiations with Denmark’s food industry.
“The plan contains one main objective and that is to reduce the prevalence of salmonella bacteria on fresh carcasses to 1 per cent by the end of 2014,” explains Lene Lund Sørensen, Chief Consultant at the department of Food Safety, Veterinary Issues and Risk Analysis at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.
“The fourth Salmonella Action Plan carried the same target, but we failed to reach it by a very narrow margin. 1 per cent is extremely challenging, particularly since we have to maintain this level until 2017.”
Denmark’s first Salmonella Action Plan was introduced in 1995, ushering in controls at all levels of the production chain: from the feed to carcass surveillance at the slaughterhouse.
Two types of salmonella testing at the slaughterhouse are carried out: a meat juice sample and a swab sample from the chilled carcass.
“All producers are subject to a strict penalty system, ranging from 2% of the carcass value for level 2 herds, to a maximum of 8% of the carcass value for level 3 herds whose salmonella level has remained unchanged for 12 months,” explains Lene Lund Sørensen adding that pigs from level 3 herds are slaughtered under special conditions. The status of the herd is also published on the SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) website, a database containing details of the health status of Denmark’s pig breeding herds.
All herds and slaughterhouses in Denmark participate in the Danish Salmonella Action Plan.
February 2014/ Danish Agriculture & Food Council/ Denmark.