Export of Poultry to the European Union – Zoonotic Salmonella Program

June 10, 2013

The European Union (EU) requires that countries exporting poultry have zoonotic salmonellae programs in place. These programs must have been approved by the EU and all companies exporting to the EU must participate in these programs. As Canada does not have a national Salmonella program on the EU specified serotypes, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed a program to be delivered at the company level. The participants in the program are well established poultry genetics companies with longstanding and ongoing relationships with the CFIA. This document summarizes the programs currently being delivered in the two (2) sectors affected: chickens and turkeys.

For chickens, the following Salmonella serotypes are of interest: S. Enteriditis, S. Hadar, S. Typhimurium lang="la", S. Virchowand S. Infantis.

For turkeys, the serotypes of interest are: S. Enteriditis and S. Typhimurium.

Approved Laboratories

The European Union has approved the following laboratories for testing: Bacterial culture for Salmonella species is to be performed at the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL), University of Guelph and at the designated CFIA laboratory, Ottawa Laboratory Fallowfield (OLF). Other approved network laboratories may be approved for this function, provided they utilize the mandated culture protocol and proficiency testing panels.

Serotyping is performed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in Guelph.

The Animal Health Laboratory – University of Guelph

The AHL in Guelph is part of the Network Laboratory System. As such the laboratory is ISO 17025 and Standards Council of Canada approved.

For isolation of motile salmonellae, AHL utilizes the CFIA-harmonized culture protocol and, in accordance with the EU requirements, uses modified semisolid Rappaport-Vassiliadis (MSRV) as the enrichment medium. At the present time, this is the only non-CFIA laboratory recognized to perform this testing for the purposes of export to the EU.

All confirmations of salmonellae are forwarded to the PHAC laboratory in Guelph for final serotyping and phagetyping, if required.

Avian Diagnostic Laboratory - OLF

The Avian Diagnostic Laboratory located in Nepean, is the CFIA reference laboratory for salmonellae. This laboratory is ISO 17025.

For Salmonella culture, the laboratory uses a double enrichment technique. Salmonella colonies are worked up and confirmed biochemically as Salmonella spp. These samples are then forwarded to the Salmonella Reference Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) facility in Guelph, Ontario for final serotyping results (and phagetyping, if appropriate).

Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonosis - Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

The Salmonella Typing Laboratory (STL) of the Public Health Agency of Canada is a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Reference Laboratory for Salmonellosis. The STL has been ISO/IEC Guide 17025 accredited by the Standards Council of Canada since November, 1997.

The STL participates in the annual World Health Organization (WHO) Global Salmonella Surveillance Network (Global Salm-Surv) External Quality Assurance System for Salmonella serotyping (EQAS) as well as in yearly interlaboratory Salmonella serotyping with the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) of the Public Health Agency of Canada, in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the Laboratories Branch, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; and yearly Salmonella phagetyping proficiency testing provided by the NML.

The STL has been a member of the WHO Global Salmonella Surveillance network since 2000, and provides yearly Salmonella summary data to the Global Salm-Surv webpage.

For serotyping, the STL follows the Salmonella serotyping protocol of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research, Institut Pasteur in France. Antiserum reagents are bought commercially from quality management program-certified sources and integrity tested at the STL.

Phagetyping of Salmonella isolates is performed using the standard phagetyping technique as described by Anderson and Williams (1956). Salmonella Enteritidis strains are phagetyped with typing phages obtained from the Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens (LEP), Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections, London, United Kingdom. The phagetyping scheme and phages for Salmonella Typhimurium are obtained from the LEP via the NML. Isolates that react with the phages but do not conform to any recognized phagetype are considered atypical (AT). Strains which do not react with any of the typing phages are considered untypable (UT).

Once typed, results are reported to both the submitters and/or any mandated department or agency.

Sampling Requirements for Chickens and Turkeys

The sampling that will occur under this program is equivalent to the requirements specified in the EU directives. The sampling plan includes both sampling by the operator as well as testing by the Competent Authority.

Sampling Frequency

Any company initiated sampling and testing must occur within flocks of origin exporting or intending to export to the European Union:

Rearing Flocks

Sampling must occur three (3) times in rearing flocks at the following intervals:

  • day-old's,
  • birds four weeks of age
  • two weeks prior to moving birds to the laying barns.

Laying Flocks

Adult breeding flocks must be tested every three weeks, as well as three weeks prior to movement to slaughter.

Chickens - Confirmation Testing by the Competent Authority

CFIA flock sampling must be done three (3) times during the production cycle:

  1. within 4 weeks of movement to lay
  2. near the end of lay but not earlier than eight (8) weeks before end of production
  3. during production between a and b.

Any sampling carried out by the competent authority will replace a sampling by the company.

Turkeys - Confirmation testing by the Competent Authority

Once per year, all flocks on 10% of holdings with at least 250 adult breeding turkeys between 30 and 45 weeks of age but including all holdings where S. Enteriditis and S. Typhimuriumwas detected during the previous 12 months and on all holdings with elite, great-grandparents and grandparent breeding turkeys (this sampling may also take place at the hatchery) and on all flocks on holdings in case of detection of S. Enteriditis and S. Typhimurium from samples taken at hatchery, in order to investigate the origin of infection.

Collection of Samples

The company will be responsible for collecting and submitting samples from their premises as per the sampling frame. Samples will be submitted to the Animal Health Laboratory (Guelph) for analysis. Samples found to be positive will be submitted to the Public Health Agency of Canada for serotyping and/or phagetyping. Results will be reported to the both the company and to the CFIA.

The official control sampling program will be carried out by CFIA field staff and samples will be submitted to the CFIA reference laboratory in Nepean for analysis.

Sampling Protocol

For sampling of day olds at the hatchery:

(a) one composite sample of visibly soiled hatcher basket liners taken at random from five separate hatcher baskets or locations in the hatcher, to reach a total sampling surface of at least 1 m2; however, if the hatching eggs from a breeding flock occupy more than one hatcher, then such a composite sample shall be taken from all up to five hatchers; or

(b) one sample taken with one or several moistened fabric swab(s) of at least 900 cm2 surface area in total, taken immediately after the removal of the chickens from the whole surface area of the bottom of at least a total of five hatcher baskets, or from fluff from five places, including on the floor, in all up to five hatchers with hatched eggs from the flock, ensuring that at least one sample per flock from which eggs are derived is taken;

(c) 10 g broken eggshells taken from a total of 25 separate hatcher baskets (i.e., 250 g initial sample) in up to five hatchers with hatched eggs from the flock, crushed, mixed and subsampled to form a 25 g subsample for testing.

Preferred method at the hatchery would be fluff.

For company initiated sampling at the holding, the samples should comprise one of the following:

A. One pair of boot swabs/TubeGauze socks and one dust sample (one or several moistened fabric swabs of 900cm squared in total) per house. The surface of the boot swab shall be moistened using an appropriate diluent (0.1% peptone or sterile water).

Walking around shall be done in a manner which will sample representatively all parts of the sector including littered and slatted floors. All separate pens within a house shall be included in the sampling. On completion of sampling in the chosen sector, boot swabs must be removed carefully so as not to dislodge adherent material. Boot swabs and dust samples constitute 2 separate samples.
* this is the preferred method

B. Pooled faeces made up of fresh faecal samples each weighing not less than 1 gram taken at random from a number of sites in the building where the birds are kept. Faeces may be pooled for analysis up to a minimum of two pools.

The number of sites from which separate faeces are to be taken in order to make a pooled sample shall be as follows:

Number of sites from which separate faeces are to be taken in order to make a pooled sample

# of birds in building# of faecal samples to be taken in building
350-449 220
450-799 250
800-999 260
1000 or more 300

Routine official sampling by the CFIA will utilize sampling techniques as described above at the prescribed sampling frequency.

Suspect Cases

In exceptional cases where the CFIA has reasons to suspect false negative results at the first official sampling, a secondary official confirmatory sampling may be performed, composed of faeces or birds (detection of Salmonella in organs).

Results and Reporting

A breeding flock shall be considered positive when the presence of relevant Salmonella was detected in one or more samples taken at the holding by the competent authority. These results will be reported electronically by the laboratory to the local CFIA staff supervising the exporting company.

Hatching eggs and day-old birds from flocks demonstrating confirmed presence of relevant Salmonella are deemed ineligible for export to the European Union.

Hatchery Guarantees

Controls at the hatchery have recently been amended to permit hatcheries participating in the Zoonotic Salmonella Program to receive eggs from non-program flocks under certain circumstances.

In order to do this, the hatchery must ensure that:

  • all hatching eggs produced by Canadian flocks participating in the Zoonotic Salmonella Program are marked uniquely in a manner approved by the CFIA to ensure traceability
  • hatching eggs received from outside farms (such as those in the U.S.) originate from EU-qualified flocks of origin. Documentation must be provided to the supervising district office
  • hatching eggs from U.S. farms must be stamped in order to differentiate the eggs from the Canadian eggs
  • day-old poultry produced from these eggs are for distribution in Canada and the United States only (due to the location of the flock of origin)
Date modified: