STC Number - 9

Zero-tolerance for salmonella in imported poultry products

Maintained by: Chile; Czech Republic; El Salvador; Honduras; Slovak Republic
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: October 1996 G/SPS/R/6, paras. 18-25
Dates subsequently raised: March 1997 (G/SPS/R/7, paras. 52-53)
July 2001 (G/SPS/R/22, para. 127)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GN/3, G/SPS/N/CZE/8, G/SPS/GEN/265
Products covered: 0207 Meat and edible offal, of the poultry of heading 01.05, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Animal health; Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Human health; Risk assessment; Zoonoses
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 1996, the United States indicated that a number of Members discriminated between standards for control of salmonella in domestic versus imported poultry products. Chile, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Slovakia and Honduras applied so-called zero-tolerance standards, which was a misleading name since none of these Members appeared to have eradication or surveillance systems in place to establish non-existence of salmonella in domestic products.
The Slovak Republic responded that it did not apply a zero-tolerance standard, but rather required ante- and post-mortem treatment of slaughter poultry, for domestic and imported poultry meat. The Czech Republic clarified that its regulations required negative results on salmonella tests in poultry holdings and slaughterhouses. Czech requirements were laid out in the Draft Law on Foodstuff and Tobacco Products to be adopted in 1997, notified as G/SPS/N/CZE/8. No assurances had been received from the United States that these requirements would be met. The Czech Republic suggested bilateral consultations between veterinary experts. The representatives of Honduras and El Salvador indicated that they would inform their authorities of the statement made by the United States.
Chile observed that bilateral consultations on salmonella had started in 1992. The US concern was probably due to a misunderstanding of Chile's sanitary requirements, which required tests to determine the level of salmonella. The result was compared with the level of prevalence in the exporting country, which was part of Chile's risk assessment procedure. Chile was aware that the United States had difficulties in complying with this requirement given the high level of prevalence of salmonella domestically. Given the US situation, the Chilean government was prepared to show a certain flexibility and would consider imports of irradiated poultry from the United States as a possible alternative.
In March 1997, the United States reiterated its concerns. In particular, Chile had not substantiated its claim that salmonella was less prevalent in domestic poultry stocks compared to the imported product, and the Czech Republic continued to maintain a zero-tolerance policy. Furthermore, the United States was interested to know when legislation would be implemented to harmonize requirements for poultry meat imports in the Central American Common market. In response, Chile recalled its arguments made at the previous meeting, and remained open to further discussion with the United States. In February 2001, the Czech Republic reported that its new Law on Foodstuff and Tobacco Products had been adopted (decree 298/1997), and than it had been in contact with the United States since then.
In July 2001, the United States reported that it was still discussing the matter with Chile (G/SPS/GEN/265).