Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause illness in humans and animals. Though closely associated with poultry, salmonella is a food safety concern with products from all animal sources. There are many different kinds of salmonella bacteria. Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium are the most common serotypes in the United States.
Salmonella enteritidis is an egg-transmitted poultry disease. Sanitation has all but eliminated the disease in the United States.
The Salmonella enteritidis program started in the late 1980s. All egg-type chicken breeding flocks and hatcheries participate in the salmonella programs. Salmonella enteritidis can be deposited into the contents of clean and intact eggs. Improper food handling can cause illness. The Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory works with poultry hatcheries to test for this bacteria.
Salmonella infections are responsible for a variety of acute and chronic diseases in poultry. Infected poultry flocks are also among the most frequently implicated reservoirs of salmonella bacteria that can be transmitted through food to humans. One of the serotypes, Salmonella typhimurium, has been a serious problem for turkey growers by causing severe poult mortality. It has been listed as one of the top two human Salmonella serotypes reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Minnesota Salmonella Typhimurium Program was established in 1971 to identify flocks infected with S. Typhimurium. All turkey breeder flocks participate in the Sanitation Monitored Program to reduce and monitor Salmonella levels in their breeder flocks. The NPIP program sets the guidelines for Salmonella test standards. In addition, a cooperative Salmonella Control Program was established in 1980 to help control Salmonella in Minnesota turkey breeder flocks.
Both the Minnesota turkey industry and the primary breeders have agreed to specific test standards for Salmonella, and have agreed to report their Salmonella serotypes to each other. The goal is to differentiate the serotypes that are transmitted through the parent stock and the serotypes that are transmitted from the environment and feed.
Flocks found to be infected with Salmonella typhimurium cannot be used for the production of hatching eggs if the hatchery elects to maintain its "Typhimurium tested" classification.