Until 2005, it was the most common food-borne disease in the European Union (EU) with almost 200 reported human cases a year. However, the number of human Salmonellareports in the EU fell by almost 50% in five years up to 2009.
EFSA was established in 2002 after a series of food crises in Europe to protect citizens from risks associated with the food chain.
Fall in Salmonella cases
EFSA attributed the fall to an integrated effort involving EFSA and other EU agencies such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Member States and the European Commission.
The report, containing EFSA’s achievements, said: “It is estimated that the overall economic burden of human Salmonellosis for the EU could be as high as €3bn a year.
“To support the reduction of Salmonella in the food chain, EFSA has advised on the risks for public health from infected animals and provided recommendations and advice on control and reduction measures, such as reduction targets in poultry and poultry meat and the use of vaccines and antimicrobials for the control of Salmonella.”
The Authority has published more than 2,500 scientific outputs which have been the basis of European Commission, Member State and European Parliament risk management measures and policy initiatives.
Customer confidence restored
EFSA also outlined its success at restoring customer confidence with regards to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the EU.
“The number of cases of BSE being reported across the EU has fallen significantly, from several thousands in the early 2000s, to 44 in 2010. Consumer confidence has also increased: in 2010, only 2% of EU consumers spontaneously indicated BSE as a possible risk associated with food,” it said.
Looking ahead to future challenges, EFSA added: “In the second decade of the 21st century the Authority faces new expectations and demands on its resources which reflect emerging issues such as climate change, the changing demographics of Europe, and the rapid expansion of global trade.”