Despite concerted efforts to control a persistent Salmonella issue, Sweden's largest egg producer is to euthanize all the hens at one of its farms. Meanwhile, layers from an unrelated flock have also tested positive for the pathogen in the past few days.
Over the past year, egg producer CA Cedergren and the Swedish authorities have been battling to clean the company’s facility in the southeast of the country. These efforts followed repeated detection at the facility of Salmonella bacteria that threaten human health.
According to Jordbruksaktuellt, the farm is now to be depopulated. There were more than one million laying hens at the unit near Fliseryd in the municipality of Mönsterås prior to the outbreak. This equates to around 20% of the national laying flock.
The report states that there have been repeated but unsuccessful attempts to clean up the facility by the Swedish Agricultural Agency. It has now been decided to depopulate the farm so that more effective cleaning and disinfection can be carried out. No eggs from this unit have been sold to consumers since the first detection in the spring.
Swedish eggs supplies have been maintained throughout this period though imports, according to industry organization Svenska Ägg (Swedish Egg).
More recently, Salmonella has been detected at another egg farm as a result of routine testing. Affected is a flock of around 15,000 laying hens on Gotland, reports ATL.
The agricultural agency is yet to decide whether this flock also needs to be euthanized in order for hygiene measures to be carried out.
Gotland is an island off the southeast coast of Sweden.
Sweden records cases of Salmonella infection
As of March 9, 79 people were confirmed with infections of the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis that was detected at the egg farm at the start of 2023.
First cases were identified in December 6 last year, and the most recent was on February 4, reported the national public health agency.
Affected patients came from 16 regions of the country, and the age range was one to 91 years.
According to Food Safety News in March of this year, the Salmonella infection originated at an egg farm in Småland in December, and resulted in the culling of 165,000 hens there.
A second recall was carried out in March due to the detection of another infection among 160,000 layers, although this was not linked to any human infections.
Investigations continue in European Salmonella outbreak
In a recent multi-country Salmonella outbreak in Europe, investigations point to chicken meat and chicken meat products — particularly kebabs — as the likely source of infection. This is according to a report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and published at the end of October.
Three types of Salmonella Enteritidis were identified as the foodborne pathogens involved .
Tracing the foods indicated that the sources may have been one of seven producers in Poland and one in Austria. However, there was no evidence of contamination at their facilities from microbiological testing.
EFSA and the other European bodies involved expect further cases to be identified in this outbreak, offering opportunities to trace the source(s).