Almost 100 warnings have been issued amongst various European countries, regarding Salmonella contamination in chilled or frozen poultry products coming from Poland since March 2020.
Data from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) portal shows alerts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, France and Romania. The highest amount of notifications were made by Lithuania, followed by Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Salmonella Enteritidis, Infantis, Typhimurium, Saintpaul, Derby, Newport, and Mbandaka were the serotypes involved in the notifications. European regulation on fresh poultry considers that Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium specifically are food safety criterion and the biggest threats for public health.
The Polish poultry production is quite significant in Europe. In 2018 alone, 2.5 million tons out of an estimated total of 15.2 million tons of European poultry was produced in Poland.
Multiple seizures in Lithuania
Lithuanian authorities revealed that more than 100 tons of poultry meat was not allowed to be sold in the first 5 months of 2020, and 9 tons of Salmonella-infected poultry was banned in the last few weeks of May. All sales of poultry products are halted in Lithuania when any type of Salmonella is detected.
The State Food and Veterinary Service’s (VMVT) inspections found that the poultry meat from Poland falls into the group of high-risk products due to safety and quality discrepancies.
VMVT assessed the safety and quality of 230 tons of poultry meat, with lab results showing as much as 61 tons contaminated with Salmonella, most of which originated in Poland.
Meat distributing companies in Lithuania are called upon to tighten their procedural protocols via increased self-monitoring, careful selection of suppliers and their auditing, in order to ensure product reliability.
Bulgarian and Romanian action
The Bulgarian Food Safety Authority revealed in April this year that it had seized two shipments of more than 32,000 kilograms of frozen chicken legs from Poland that were contaminated with Salmonella.
The shipments were checked as part of the Bulgarian agency’s enhanced controls on poultry meat and by-products originating in Poland.
A month later, the agency issued the destruction of more than 19 tons of Polish-sourced poultry meat contaminated with Salmonella, after tests came back positive from frozen chicken legs.
In Romania, during routine checks from the end of March to the end of April, two samples of frozen chicken breast fillets originating from Poland were found to be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.
The entire quantity of 21 tons seized showed that 1 ton came from Bihor county and the rest from Ilfov county. The shipment was officially seized in order to be destroyed.
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