Iceland – Screening for pathogenic microorganisms in meat on the market 2019


Screening for pathogenic micro-organisms in meat on the Icelandic market shows that the microbiological condition is generally good for salmonella and campylobacter. Shigatoxin-producing E. coli  (STEC) is detected in the flesh of Icelandic sheep, which is an indication that STEC is part of the natural flora of sheep. Surveillance of salmonella and Campylobacter in the early stages of the food chain is strong in Iceland. 

The Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the Food Administration, in collaboration with the municipal health inspectorate, organized sampling in 2019 of the most common pathogenic meat microorganisms on the market. The five largest health control areas in the country took care of the sampling. 

Samples were taken of domestic and foreign meat in supermarkets in the most populous areas of the country. The purpose of the sampling was to screen for pathogenic micro-organisms in products when the consumer receives them, and the sampling therefore took place in retail stores. 

Salmonella was not detected in unfrozen chicken meat. Campylobacter was detected in small quantities in 3 samples of frozen chicken meat. Salmonella was not detected in beef. Salmonella ( Salmonella Kedougou) was detected in one sample of domestic pork. Distribution was stopped and the meat was withdrawn from the market and recalled from consumers. In 22% of samples of sheep meat, STEC was diagnosed as malignant, of which E. coli was carried in 14% of the samples. The results of a report on screening for pathogenic bacteria in meat on the 2019 market are discussed in more detail .

A similar screening was carried out in Iceland for the first time in 2018, and the government has decided to continue increased monitoring of pathogenic microorganisms in fresh meat on the market at least this year. 

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