A revised National Pig Salmonella Control Programme came into effect from 1 January 2010. The programme is the result of a collaborative effort involving the main industry stakeholders, the relevant State agencies and my Department. The programme includes the following measures aimed at reducing pig salmonella levels in pigs being slaughtered for human consumption:
Pig herds supplying more than 200 pigs annually will be sampled every month
These samples will be tested at my Department's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory and on the basis of the results obtained a salmonella prevalence for the herd will be established
Herds with a prevalence of 50% or higher based on the three most recent results will be excluded from the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme after a 12-month lead-in period and will be separated at the lairage and slaughtered at the end of a day's production to reduce risk of cross-contamination
Every pig farmer is required to have a pig salmonella control plan in place which must be drawn up in consultation with their private veterinary practitioner
The control plan must address such issues as biosecurity, managerial practices, restocking policy and transport arrangements and be reviewed at least once annually
Advice has issued to all herdowners on how to draw up a control plan
Additional requirements have been set down for breeding herds in order to minimise the introduction and recycling of infection into herds.
My Department will engage with herdowners and their private veterinary practitioners to drive the programme in particular in the case of those farms with ongoing salmonella problems. At present the programme is in a lead-in phase during which herd categorisations obtained under the old salmonella programme will continue to apply. Farmers have six months from the commencement of the programme to submit the control plans described above.