Salmonella search launched

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is planning to launch an in-depth inquiry into how much of Europe's pigmeat production is contaminated with salmonella.

The European Commission has asked the European Union (EU) agency to act, because it wants a clear picture of the "public health risks", caused by the disease.

Brussels plans to use the data in setting future targets for reducing salmonella in pigs, following a later cost-benefit study. For the first time in such a study, EFSA will outsource part of the work to a consortium of European research institutes.

This said, an EFSA note, would "take advantage of the substantial pool of European expertise in this field and ensure a balanced European perspective on the issue".

These experts would be tasked with drawing up a "quantitative estimate of the existing risk factors and likely effects of proposed measures to reduce them".

Analyses will assess infection on farms; the potential contamination via slaughtering; and the expected effect of reducing salmonella within pig livestock in reducing the disease's presence in pigmeat and associated food poisoning cases amongst consumers.

The agency has launched a formal call for applications to undertake this work, with an 11 June deadline.