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Impressive practical results

Salmonella monitoring became far more efficient in 2011 thanks to the improved information situation

In future intensive salmonella monitoring will continue to become increasingly important in all fattening farms and slaughterhouses. In particular pig fattening farmers were already able to show impressive improvements in 2011, thanks to a reorganised salmonella monitoring system within the framework of the INTERREG VI A project SafeGuard, and hence underline their high quality standard.

According to the previous usual process, every three months the fattening farms incorporated in the “QA” database receive information on the rating of their individual farm’s salmonella results in the categories I, II and III. Approximately 60 meat juice samples are tested for salmonella antibodies each year in each farm. For the current category rating in each case the sample results from the past twelve months are used in the evaluation. The disadvantage of this approach: the pig fattening farmer – insofar as he does not himself check his latest salmonella results in the “Qualitype” database operated by the QA database – does not know the status of the latest slaughtered groups of fattened animals.

Under the auspices of the Farmers Association Rhineland, which has been integrated into the “SafeGuard” project coordinated by GIQS e.V. since 2009 and as system consultant of IQ-Agrar (coordinator for the QA system) supervises salmonella monitoring in approximately 250 fattening farms, during the last one and a half years an improved information system has been established: the latest sample results of the past three months are read out of the salmonella database and the farmer is informed if:
    - no samples have been taken during the past 56 days;
    - less than 60 samples have been taken;
    - the latest sample results from the past three months show a category deterioration.

This constantly updated information has not remained without an impact on the fattening farmers. Already the notification of a lack of sampling or insufficient sampling at slaughterhouses has drastically reduced the number of farms for which samples have not been taken (“farms without rating”).

The number of farms in category II and III has been considerably reduced. The farms have very clearly reacted quicker than before to the more up-to-date information situation. Rehabilitation programmes have also been discussed with veterinary surgeons, hygienic measures have been intensified and, for instance, acidic additives have been mixed in. Medicamentous measures were only seldom necessary.

In “QA” considerations are being made for reducing the threshold value for a “positive” sample from an OD value of 40 to 20; this step is planned to probably be introduced within the course of 2013. OD values ranging from 20 to 40 occur very frequently and merely indicate an often unspecific “basic burden” for instance through infected mice, without there being any clinical symptoms appearing in the piglet rearing or fattening. Sample results with OD values under 20 are not statistically further itemised. Experience shows that the “good” values are often even below 10; i.e. no antibodies or hardly any antibodies were formed.

If the new threshold values are adopted, only about 50 % of the farms will be in category I, approximately 30 % in category II and approximately 20 % in category III, without these farms ever having had a recognisable salmonella problem. Consequence: according to estimates by the producer association of Rhineland, approximately half of the fattening farms will have to introduce measures, increasingly also in coordination with the piglet breeders. With a longer start-up period even more stringent threshold values could be achieved than those which are currently envisaged. The most comprehensive forwarding of information possible from the fattening farms to the piglet breeders is decisive for this. In future this will become far more important. In 2012 the “SafeGuard” project will increasingly face up to this challenge.

More information about the producers association of Rhineland: phone number +49(0)2841-88039-15.

The SafeGuard project is coordinated by GIQS and financed with funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national and regional financers within the framework of the INTERREG IV A programme of Germany-Netherlands. The following are the individual co-financers: the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Medium-sized Industry and Energy (Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Mittelstand und Energie) of the State of NRW (North Rhine Westphalia), the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr), the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), Dutch Product Board for Livestock, Meat and Eggs (PVE), the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA), Drenthe Province, Overijssel Province, Groningen Province, Fryslân Province, Gelderland Province, Nord-Brabant Province, Limburg Province. It is supported by the programme management of the Euregio Rhein-Waal.

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