This research project identifies optimal sampling and testing procedures for the detection of Salmonella spp. on the broiler farm.
<OL> <LI> Collate and update all information on sampling and testing practices from previous studies, industry, the literature and overseas.
<LI> Critically evaluate sampling and testing practices to determine the best procedures taking account of practicalities. The most promising sampling and testing procedures will be further evaluated using practical, laboratory-based studies to determine sensitivity and detection thresholds. A definitive sampling and testing plan will be validated in a number of broiler flocks by comparison with standard company monitoring and intensive sampling. On completion of technical evaluations a full cost/benefit analysis will be undertaken. This will take account of both the full costs of procedures and their technical merit.
<LI>Produce final recommendations in a format suitable for the production of guidance material for industry. A final report will be produced which will give economically viable recommended procedures to cover all stages of sampling and testing. The recommendations will include: a sample plan that will detect the maximum number of salmonella positive flocks; at what stage(s) of production should testing take place (i.e. age of the birds); the optimum method of sampling to assess flock status; how best to package and transport the samples to the laboratory; the laboratory test procedures(s) that will optimise detection of salmonellas of most concern to public health (particularly typhimurium and enteritidis); suitable rapid methods; alternatives to serotyping if available.
A recent review (FSA project ZB00023) of the current testing and scheduling practices used by the poultry industry revealed that over 95% of flocks were tested for salmonella but there were wide variations at all stages of the testing procedures.
<p>The authors concluded that because of the inadequacy of many industry practices it was certain that a significant number of salmonella positive flocks were not being detected, resulting in cross-contamination during slaughter.
<p>Testing and scheduling is an important salmonella control measure for poultry meat and there is an urgent need for clear and practical guidance on sampling and testing.
<p>Such guidance needs to clearly explain the best practical and economic procedures that industry should adopt to ensure the maximum number of salmonella positive flocks are detected.
<p>The project will critically examine current industry practices to identify a definitive sampling and testing plan, which will be validated in a number of broiler flocks.
The final report, "<a href="http://www.foodbase.org.uk/results.php?f_report_id=190" target="_new">To Make Recommendations On The Best Practical Procedures To Sample And Test Poultry Flocks For Salmonella</a>" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the <acronym title="Food Standards Agency">FSA</acronym>.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.