NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Administration for Safe Food, Veterinary Medicine and Plant Protection (UVHVVR) together with the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) is investigating the increased number of reported cases of salmonella infections in Slovenia, which are being handled by the regional units of the NIJZ Ravne na Koroškem, Murska Sobota, Celje and Ljubljana. On the basis of the information received from the epidemiological service of the NIJZ, the UVHVVR started inquiries and inspections.


The first findings of the case investigation were presented today at the press conference by Sanja Vuzem, Ph.D. med., spec. (NIJZ), dr. Branko Podpečan and M.Sc. Nadja Škrk (UVHVVR) and dr. Majda Biasizzo (National Veterinary Institute – NVI).

Sanja Vuzem, Ph.D. med., spec., said that the NIJZ recorded 19 confirmed cases of salmonella infection by 12:00 today, which are being treated by regional units of the NIJZ. The epidemiological investigation showed that there were mostly unrelated cases, but the probability of consuming the same food stood out. Salmonella infection can occur from the consumption of improperly processed or prepared certain foods, such as raw meat (most often poultry) and eggs. In order to prevent infection, it is extremely important that the above-mentioned foods are properly and thoroughly heat-treated before consumption. The salmonella bacterium is also spread through contact with infected and sick people. The patient/infected person excretes salmonella with feces, from where they can get on their hands or in the environment and on other people. Infection can also occur through direct contact with infected animals.

Dr. Branko Podpečan presented the current activities of the Inspectorate for Food Safety, Veterinary Medicine and Plant Protection, which were based on information from the NIJZ. These initially related to the sale of a potentially contaminated meat preparation in three retail chains of two Slovenian producers. By inquiring and verifying the received data, it was established that the meat preparation of only one Slovenian producer was sold in retail chains. An inspection was instituted (which is still ongoing) during which the presence of salmonella was confirmed in one sample. He emphasized that the connection between the cases of NIJZ and the Inspection for Food Safety, Veterinary Medicine and Plant Protection cannot be confirmed or denied at the moment.

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M.Sc. Nadja Škrk explained the content of the extraordinary inspection in the identified plant, which checked the traceability of raw materials, traceability of products, the sanitary and technical condition of the premises and equipment in the plant, cleaning procedures, individual statements about the symptoms of illness of the employees and the findings of their own controls. 5 official samples of raw materials and finished products were also taken, the results are not yet known. It was found that already on November 18, the retail chain itself informed the manufacturer about the potential suspicion of digestive problems caused by steak tartare. As part of its own controls, the latter took a sample of steak tartare and sent it to the laboratory for analysis. The manufacturer received the official partial report on November 22, the presence of salmonella bacteria was confirmed in this sample, and today, November 23, the report was supplemented, Namely, Salmonella Enteritidis was found in the sample. Yesterday, on the basis of the findings, a recall of the food was ordered from the market, information about this is also published on the UVHVVR website. At the same time, 29 employees were sent for an inspection with the aim of excluding them from membership, and the production and distribution of food that has not been thermally treated is also temporarily prohibited. She stressed that the latter result does not yet mean a direct connection between the sick and the salmonella found in the steak tartar, this will be confirmed only by further analyzes of the genome of isolates isolated from both sick people and food. She also mentioned that UVHVVR took 12 samples of duck meat as part of the annual sampling program during St. Martin’s Day. Salmonella was confirmed in three cases, namely Salmonella Typhimurium in two cases and Salmonella Enteritidis in one case.