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Prevalence of Salmonella in grade A whole shell eggs in the island of Ireland

Murchie, L. and Whyte, P. and Xia, B. and Kelly, Louise Anne and Madden, R.H. (2007) Prevalence of Salmonella in grade A whole shell eggs in the island of Ireland. Journal of Food Protection, 70 (5). pp. 1238-40. ISSN 0362-028X

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Following the emergence of Salmonella Enteritidis as a widespread contaminant of eggs and the role of eggs in the transmission of human salmonellosis, control measures were introduced to curb the spread of infection. Two approaches to Salmonella control are currently used by egg producers in Ireland, because Northern Ireland producers, like those in the rest of the United Kingdom, widely adopted a vaccination regime, whereas the Republic of Ireland does not permit vaccination but introduced controls based on routine monitoring for specific Salmonella serovars and subsequent culling of infected flocks. To compare the efficacy of these two approaches and determine the prevalence of salmonellae in eggs produced for retail sale in the island of Ireland, a major survey of approximately 30,000 grade A eggs was undertaken. Egg shells and contents were analyzed separately for salmonellae by procedures based on International Organization for Standardization methodology. The survey yielded only two positive samples, with Salmonella Infantis and Salmonella Montevideo isolated from shells; no egg contents yielded salmonellae. There was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of salmonellae between eggs produced in Northern Ireland and those from the Republic of Ireland; hence, both regimes appeared to be equally effective in controlling salmonellae. The prevalence was also significantly lower than that found in a recent major United Kingdom survey. Hence, shell eggs produced in the island of Ireland are unlikely to be a source of human salmonellosis