Finland considers creating a state Salmonella fund for farmers

Finnish authorities are considering establishing a state Salmonella fund to help farmers.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said it was looking for a solution to finance Salmonella control on livestock farms, as the conditions around insurance coverage on such farms have changed.

A report from the Finnish Institute of Natural Resources (Luke) found that the establishment of a state Salmonella fund appears to be the most viable option.

The costs of eradicating Salmonella can reach several million euros in a large pig farm. Previously, the farm and the insurance company mainly covered the costs.

Possible state support
Recently, Finland has been able to offset part of the value of animals culled due to Salmonella infection. However, this compensation option, which is intended to be a temporary solution, will cease at the end of 2023 unless an extension is granted until 2024.

The decision to slaughter pigs to prevent the spread of Salmonella infection involves the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and considers economic and animal welfare points, as well as the commitment by the animal owner to clean and disinfect the pig. place.

A permanent solution could include collecting payments from ranchers, which would be put into the fund and compensation paid to producers for the costs of eradicating disease cases and outbreaks. Similar state funds for animal diseases exist in other European countries. Variables include the number of animals on a farm, the size of the farm, and the level of protection against disease.

A majority of at least two-thirds of the votes cast in parliament would be required to pass such a bill.

Luke conducted a survey to find out the views of insurance providers and pig farmers on Salmonella insurance and their views on state aid.

The costs of Salmonella-related renovations on farms, especially in the swine sector, have increased in recent years as the number of cases has increased and farms have grown. Such factors have increased the price of Salmonella claims, leading to higher premiums and stricter insurance terms and conditions.

Simulations using previous data seemed to show that the support needed for the pig sector would be greater than that which should be required in beef and poultry production.

The prevalence of Salmonella in Finland is much lower than in most other countries. Because of this, Finland received special guarantees when it joined the European Union. The European Commission has also approved Finland’s national Salmonella control program. The special guarantees mean that beef, pork, poultry and eggs imported into Finland must be free of Salmonella.

Inspection grades provide clues to outbreaks
Meanwhile, researchers have analyzed inspection levels and their relationship to the incidence of domestically acquired foodborne illness.

They used food control inspection data from local companies and infectious disease data from 2014 to 2019 in Finland. The findings were published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research.

Lower general inspection grades were associated with a higher incidence of Salmonella infections. Lower scores for cleanliness of facilities, surfaces, and equipment were associated with a higher incidence of Salmonella.

An association was observed between a higher incidence of Campylobacter infections and lower grades in food storage and verification of hygienic competence.

The results suggest that food control recognizes non-compliances that can lead to foodborne illness, the researchers said.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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