BRUSSELS (B)--The European Commission August 1 proposed legislation to combat infections and diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, such as salmonella, listeria, E-coli and campylobacter.

The main focus of the legislation is salmonella in poultry but the proposals also envisage setting targets to reduce the level of salmonella in breeding pigs from 2008.

The legislation also sets out procedures for setting similar targets for other types of animal and for other of these transmissible "zoonotic" diseases.

The commission has set out two pieces of legislation, both of which will require the consent of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The first is for a directive on monitoring zoonotic diseases in both the human food and animal feed chains. National authorities will be required to take part in monitoring programs, coordinated by the European Food Authority when that is created next year, to establish baseline levels of the most important infections in each state. The Commission's aim is to get coordinated comparable data from each state on the incidence of zoonotic diseases, the occurrence of food-borne outbreaks of diseases.

The second proposal is for a regulation to reduce the incidence of .

pathogens by setting targets. The first priority will be salmonella. "I want to see a system in place that ensures that purchasers of live animals or hatching eggs know if the holding where they come from is salmonella-free or not," said David Byrne, European Commissioner for health and consumer protection.

The EU will set targets "progressively": to apply in breeding flocks of chickens from 2005, in laying hens from 2006, in broilers from 2007 and then in 2008 in turkeys and breeding pigs.

The EU already has some rules on monitoring salmonella, limited in their scope to breeding hens, not applying to broilers or laying hens. Sweden and Finland already have much more stringent national controls. France, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark and Austria and Ireland have all also introduced national rules above the current basic EU minimum, an EU official said.

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