Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs appears to have ended – Dutch agencies

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Related tags S. enteritidis 2015 2016

An EU-wide Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs appears to be over, according to Dutch authorities.

De Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit (NVWA), het Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), de Nederlandse Controle Autoriteit Eieren (NCAE) and regional public health authorities said more than 170 people were sickened in the country.

The agencies said the outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis was ongoing since 2015 and had been present in the Netherlands since May 2016.

They added there have been no new patients in recent weeks.

From May to December last year, ten countries reported 183 confirmed and 246 probable S. enteritidis cases, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Outbreak cases of S. enteritidis are from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Infected eggs from Poland

Dutch cases derived from infected eggs from Polish companies with laying hens – named as Fermy Drobiu Woźniak (Wozniak Poultry Farms), Specjalistyczne Gospodarstwo Rolne, Ferma Drobiu Maciej Kubiaczyk and Ovotek Sp. z o.o, by the NCAE.

NVWA and NCAE sampled 5,000 eggs from suspected Polish companies and found S. Enteritidis on the outside.

RIVM determined it was the same bacteria as that which caused the European outbreak.

Eggs had been supplied to the catering sector, the processing industry and some Polish shops but not to major supermarkets.

Polish action included ensuring that until the companies with laying hens are free of S. enteritidis they may only deliver to firms that process eggs using heat treatment.

Fermy Drobiu Woźniak told us last year that the Czech Republic terminated a contract and started to work with the Netherlands in connection with a RASFF alert in which Polish eggs were implicated.

“To perform the inspections, specialized research centres and sanitary and veterinary services have been contacted. Product tests ordered by the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate and environmental studies ordered by the veterinary services have been conducted,” ​said the company at the time.

“In addition, detailed control measures have been taken for feeds, breeding farms, egg packing facilities, transport and sale of eggs. All locations are being carefully checked in order to rule out and eliminate even the slightest probability of Salmonella occurrence.”

European view: Outbreak not over yet

Croatia reported a cluster of S. Enteritidis cases, including the death of a five year old child, with an epidemiological link to the outbreak.

Cases peaked in October when the source of infection was identified in a large egg packing centre and control measures were put in place.

EFSA told us it was following the situation with the ECDC and the European Commission.

“The multi-country outbreak due to Salmonella Enteritidis associated with the consumption of eggs from Poland is not closed yet.

“Together with ECDC, we are currently working in a joint update of the rapid outbreak assessment published on 27 October.”

The agency added certain investigations were on-going and an initial update planned for the end of January may need to be postponed.

ECDC and EFSA said contaminated items may have been distributed between May 2015 and October 2016. It is also possible the outbreak is associated with sources persisting since at least 2012.

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