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The European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2016

This report of the European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control presents the results of the zoonoses monitoring activities carried out in 2016 in 37 European countries (28 Member States (MS) and nine non-MS). Campylobacteriosis was the most commonly reported zoonosis and the increasing European Union (EU) trend for confirmed human cases since 2008 stabilised during 2012–2016. In food, the occurrence of Campylobacter remained high in broiler meat. The decreasing EU trend for confirmed human salmonellosis cases since 2008 ended during 2012–2016, and the proportion of human Salmonella Enteritidis cases increased. Most MS met their Salmonella reduction targets for poultry, except five MS for laying hens. At primary production level, the EU-level flock prevalence of target Salmonella serovars in breeding hens, broilers, breeding and fattening turkeys decreased or stabilised compared with previous years but the EU prevalence of S. Enteritidis in laying hens significantly increased. In foodstuffs, the EU-level Salmonella non-compliance for minced meat and meat preparations from poultry was low. The number of human listeriosis confirmed cases further increased in 2016, despite the fact that Listeria seldom exceeds the EU food safety limit in ready-to-eat foods. The decreasing EU trend for confirmed yersiniosis cases since 2008 stabilised during 2012–2016, and also the number of confirmed Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections in humans was stable. In total, 4,786 food-borne outbreaks, including waterborne outbreaks, were reported. Salmonella was the most commonly detected causative agent – with one out of six outbreaks due to S. Enteritidis – followed by other bacteria, bacterial toxins and viruses. Salmonella in eggs continued to represent the highest risk agent/food combination. The report further summarises trends and sources for bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, trichinellosis, echinococcosis, toxoplasmosis, rabies, Q fever, West Nile fever and tularaemia.

Scientific Report of EFSA

EURL mycotoxins & plant toxins

Task of the European Union Reference Laboratory mycotoxins & plant toxins

The EURL mycotoxins & plant toxins is the interface between the European Commission (DG SANTÉ) and the National Reference Laboratories in the Member States in the field of mycotoxins and plant toxins. The main task of the EURL mycotoxins & plant toxins is to ensure the availability of analytical methods for monitoring and control of mycotoxins and plant toxins in food and feed, and to ensure high quality method performance by the NRLs. In addition, the EURL mycotoxins & plant toxins provides scientific and technical assistance to the NRLs, the European Commission and other organisations. This is done through:

  • method development, validation, and method comparisons for regulated and emerging toxins
  • providing NRLs with details and guidance on analytical methods and analytical quality control
  • organisation of inter-laboratory comparative testing or proficiency tests
  • information exchange within the EURL-NRL network through workshops and training
  • missions to laboratories within the EU and third countries

    What are mycotoxins?

    Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi potentially contaminating food and feed at all stages of the food supply chain. Contamination with fungi and mycotoxins depends on many factors such as agronomic management practices and climate. Some mycotoxins can be transferred from feed to products of animal origin (e.g. milk). Certain mycotoxins can have carcinogenic (liver and kidney), oestrogenic or immunotoxic effects. For a number of mycotoxins maximum limits have been set in EU legislation, while for others indicative levels or guidance values apply.

    What are plant toxins?

    Plant toxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by plants, often as defence mechanism against animals or pests. The toxins can be present in the leafs, root, fruits or seeds and the levels can be  strongly influenced by plant species or cultivar, field conditions and climate. Plant toxins can occur in edible crops (inherent plant toxins), while others enter the food chain due to contamination of edible crops with toxic weeds. Some plant toxins can be transferred from feed to products of animal origin For a number of plant toxins, maximum limits have been set in the EU.

OIE state of play of the global animal health situation

The 86th OIE General Session was the occasion to give OIE Member Countries, an overview of the global animal health situation, as well as to analyse trends in the evolution of priority terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases. In addition, new disease status were officially recognised for 10 countries.

European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for Salmonella

Here you can find information on the activities of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Salmonella (EURL European Union Reference Laboratory -Salmonella) conducted on behalf of the European Commission. The EURL-Salmonella site is primarily intended to inform the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs National Reference Laboratories ) for Salmonella, but will also be of interest to other laboratories analysing Salmonella.

European Union Reference Laboratories

EU Reference Laboratories (EURLs) aim to ensure high-quality, uniform testing in the EU and support Commission activities on risk management and risk assessment in the area of laboratory analysis.
Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls defines tasks, duties and requirements for all the EURLs, a list of which is provided in its Annex VII. The Commission can establish new EURLs or change designation of existing ones.

Reference Laboratories are tasked to:

  • provide National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) with analytical methods and diagnostic technics, and coordinate their application
  • train staff from National Reference Laboratories
  • provide the Commission with scientific and technical expertise in relation to laboratory analysis (e.g. assist actively in the diagnosis of animal disease outbreaks)
  • collaborate with the competent laboratories in non-EU countries
  • The legislation concerning the designation and tasks of the European Union Reference Laboratories and the European Union Reference Centres is Regulation (EU) No 2017/625 starting 29 April 2018.