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Food and Feed Safety (08-06-2005)

Ban on antimicrobials for Salmonella control in breeding flocks agreed

A Regulation banning the use of antimicrobials to reduce salmonella in breeding flocks of chickens was endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) yesterday. The legislation allows for only two exceptional circumstances in which antimicrobials can be used for salmonella control: to rebuild a new flock from the hatching eggs of an infected flock, and to treat birds showing clinical signs of salmonellosis. Other than these situations, antimicrobials as a means of salmonella control should not be included in Member States’ national control programmes. The legislation was drawn up on the basis of the EFSA Opinion of October 2004 which stated that the use of antimicrobials should be discouraged due to the public health risks associated with development, selection and spread of resistance to antibiotics. The Regulation also includes some restriction on the use of live vaccines to control salmonella in flocks, in that they should only be used if there is an effective detection method to distinguish between salmonella from vaccines and wild type strains of salmonella. This legislation forms part of the implementing measures for Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 on the control of salmonella and other food-borne zoonotic agents.