Salmonella cases across the EU are increasing

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Salmonella cases have risen by 3% across the EU since 2014
Salmonella cases have risen by 3% across the EU since 2014

Related tags Salmonella Food safety

Salmonella cases have increased by 3% across the EU since 2014, according to a new report compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

There were 94,530 human cases of salmonellosis reported in the EU in 2016. The most widespread type is called Salmonella enteritidis​ (S.enteritidis​), which is most commonly associated with the consumption of eggs, egg products and poultry meat.

S.enteritidis​ accounted for 59% of all cases of salmonellosis originating in the EU and caused one-in-six of the total foodborne disease outbreaks in 2016.

The 4,786 foodborne disease outbreaks reported in 2016 represented a slight increase in comparison with 2015 (4,362 outbreaks). Salmonella in eggs caused the highest number of outbreak cases (1,882).

Salmonella bacteria were the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks (22.3%), an increase of 11.5% compared with 2015.

Foodborne outbreaks

They caused the highest burden in terms of numbers of hospitalisations (1,766; 45.6% of all hospitalised cases) and of deaths (10; 50% of all deaths among outbreak cases).

“The increase shown by our surveillance data is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant,”​ said Mike Catchpole, ECDC’s chief scientist.

“Even in a state of high awareness and with national control programmes for S.enteritidis in place, there is a need for continuing risk management actions at the Member State and EU level.”

Marta Hugas, EFSA’s chief scientist, said: “The decrease of salmonella has been a success story in the EU food safety system in the past 10 years. Recent S.enteritidis outbreaks contributed to a change in this trend in humans and poultry.

“Further investigations by competent authorities in the field of public health and food safety will be crucial to understand the reasons behind the increase.”

Clean bill of health

Meanwhile, the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) was celebrating that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) had given eggs a clean bill of health.

In October, the FSA changed its advice on eggs confirming that British Lion eggs were safe to be eaten runny, and even raw, by vulnerable groups such as infants, children, pregnant women and elderly people.

A spokesman for BEIC said:  “While it is disappointing that cases are no longer falling across the EU, there is good news in the UK, where the British Lion mark has effectively eliminated salmonella, so much so that the FSA has amended its long-standing advice for British Lion eggs.”

The EFSA-ECDC report on trends and sources of zoonoses is based on 2016 data collected from all 28 EU Member States.

Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Group​’s 2018 Food safety conference  will take place on the June 21 2018.  

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