Broilers - Salmonella Testing under the National Control Programme

The National Control Programme was implemented throughout the UK in January 2009, which has resulted in all flocks of chickens reared for meat being required to test for salmonella. Flocks produced for private consumption, or where there is direct supply of small quantities of products to the final consumer may find themselves exempt from these requirements.

The requirements

You are required to take 2 pairs of boot swabs per flock within the period of three weeks before the birds are due for slaughter. Both pairs of boot swabs must be pooled together into one sample bag for testing as one sample. In flocks with less than 100 chickens, where it is not possible to use boot swabs as access to the houses is not possible, they may be replaced by hand drag swabs, where the boot swabs are worn over gloved hands and rubbed over surfaced contaminated with fresh faeces.


A flock means all poultry of the same health status kept on the same premises or in the same enclosure and constituting a single epidemiological unit; in the case of housed poultry; this includes all birds sharing the same airspace.


Defra - National Control Programmes for the reduction of Salmonella (External link)