July 26, 2021

 

New Zealand expands salmonella testing after bacteria found at poultry farms

 

 

New Zealand's food safety body has expanded its testing programme for salmonella to include another 25 operations - which account for 80% of eggs sold to the public.

 

According to New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS), the programme was expanded to determine the extent of salmonella enteritidis in the country's poultry flocks, after the bacteria was detected at three farms earlier in the year.

 

NZFS said that it had been monitoring the cases of salmonella infections in humans and found a strong association between the strain in human cases and what had been discovered on farms.

 

The agency had been testing 64 producers since March and was expanding the programme to 25 companies, accounting for 80% of the industry's eggs.

 

NZFS deputy director general Vincent Arbuckle said the agency was entering the testing with "an open mind".

 

"While we think the overall risk to consumers is low, the extended testing is a prudent step to take on behalf of consumers," he said.

 

Testing would start on July 26 and include taking samples from chicken sheds on each farm.

 

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Egg Producers Federation, said the testing programme was a precautionary measure to give the egg industry, MPI and consumers more confidence about the safety of eggs.

 

"This is just another step in a testing programme that we have been undertaking with MPI to ensure consumer protection," he said.

 

- NZ Herald