An alarming 20.3% of European Union (EU) laying hen poultry flocks are infected with salmonella, a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report has warned. The Czech Republic (62.5%), Poland (55.9%), Spain (51.6%), Lithuania (50%) and Portugal (47.7%) have the most serious problems.

The report, based on 2004-5 data, will be used to help guide oncoming European Commission targets for salmonella contamination. The best performers were Sweden and Luxembourg, both with no salmonella, Finland just 0.4% and Denmark 1.2%, which is already considering restricting EU poultry meat imports, after salmonella was detected in German chicken earlier this month. Slaughtered laying hens are used for soups, pies, pastries and pastes.