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Sweden beats salmonella

21-Sep-2004

The country with the lowest occurrence of salmonella in the world said this week it has aroused 'great interest' in the US for its methods to control this harmful pathogen.

The Salmonella bacteria is a major problem in most countries across the globe and can be carried in eggs, poultry and other meats, raw milk and chocolate.

The Swedish way to fight salmonella in poultry was recently introduced at an American food safety conference, arranged by International Association for Food Protection. Representatives from the US Department of Agriculture have been in Sweden to study the methods in detail.

"Sweden has practically managed to eliminate salmonella from its chicken breeding. Now, we want to find out how we in the US can use parts of the Swedish method to prevent salmonella" said Stan Bailey at USDA, reports the øresund Food Network .

In North America today, salmonella can be found in 10- 35 per cent of the chickens. So far, efforts to fight salmonella have been concentrated on latter parts of the production chain, using heating and radiation, continues the report.

The Swedish method attempts to make 'a polluted product clean', the control points are moved backwards in the production chain, including the egg production site, as well as strong focus on hygiene related matters.

The global incidence of foodborne disease such as salmonella is difficult to estimate, but it has been reported that in 2000 alone 2.1 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases, or which a great proportion were linked to food contamination and drinking water.

In industrializsed countries, the percentage of people suffering from foodborne diseases each year has been reported to be up to 30 per cent and in the US, for example, around 76 million cases of foodborne diseases, resulting in 325,000 hospitalisations and 5,000 deaths, are estimated to occur each year.

While most foodborne diseases are sporadic and often not reported, foodborne disease outbreaks may take on massive proportions. In 1994, an outbreak of salmonellosis due to contaminated ice cream occurred in the USA, affecting an estimated 224,000 persons.

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