Denmark to toughen Salmonella Dublin rules

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The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration is tightening controls on a type of Salmonella in cattle.

Salmonella Dublin can cause miscarriages and reduced milk production in cows as well as serious illness in humans. Cattle can be infected without being ill.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) is stepping up checks in herds that are found to be infected. The aim is to eradicate the pathogen in cattle production.

Ongoing efforts
Beginning in July, the owners of infected herds will have two annual inspections from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration that they must pay for to check whether restrictions are being complied with as part of a recently approved control program.

Currently, about 10 percent of cattle herds are infected with Salmonella Dublin compared to 25 percent in 2002. The original goal was to eradicate Salmonella Dublin by 2012. The number of infected consumers has almost halved from 44 in 2002 to 25 in 2017.

“Therefore, we know that cattle breeders can get rid of Salmonella Dublin if they ensure good hygiene and keep infected and healthy animals separate,” said Annette Perge, from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

The future control plan will feature two levels of infection with Salmonella Dublin — infected and non-infected cattle herds — instead of the current three. There will also be stricter requirements for action plans in infected herds, increased sampling and plans must be prepared with a veterinarian.

Multi-agency plan
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, SEGES (an agricultural knowledge and innovation center) and the Danish Veterinary Association prepared the plan.

Livestock farmers already must test animals for Salmonella Dublin four times a year. If a herd is infected the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration sets special requirements for handling animals to prevent the infection from spreading. The farmer is also banned from selling or moving the animals.

Every year, 20 to 30 people get an infection from Salmonella Dublin. It is fatal to one in three.

People can be infected with Salmonella Dublin from contact with cattle. It can also be transmitted through food, such as fresh meat or unpasteurized milk, from infected animals.

In 2018, the Ministry of Environment and Food passed a law on Salmonella Dublin control in cattle.

At the time, the financial gain for the industry by eradicating this type of Salmonella was estimated at 23 million to 28 million Danish Krone (U.S. $3.7 million to $4.5 million) per year.

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