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The European Union Zoonoses Regulation No 2160/2003 requires Member States to take effective measures to detect and control Salmonellas of public health significance.

Zoonoses are diseases that can spread from animals to people. The purpose of the EU Zoonoses Regulation is to protect human health by achieving agreed targets through auditable 3 year programmes. Targets intend to reduce the presence of certain zoonoses in animal populations at farm level and therefore at later stages of food production.

An EU required 12 month survey to establish baselines for salmonella in various UK animal species and types of production were completed. Subsequently targets were agreed for salmonella reduction in all the Member States.

Member States aim to meet these targets through National Control Programmes (NCP). NCPs vary to some extent between member states but all have to fit the Commission’s framework. This is to allow for different circumstances in each member state.

NCPs cover those farm animal species that present a potential risk of transmitting salmonella to humans. NCPs are currently restricted to chickens (breeding flocks, laying hens, broilers) and turkeys. The Zoonoses Regulation provides the framework for adding zoonotic infections other than salmonella and adding other animal species, in the future.

In the UK, NCPs are in place for chicken breeding flocks, laying flocks, broilers and turkeys. The UK has relatively low levels of salmonella and is meeting its targets.