Zoonoses and Microbiological Contaminants

Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and are a threat to food safety. The DVFA collaborates with industry and research institutions in developing strategies and action plans to combat pathogens with the overall aim to reduce human cases.


Campylobacter is the bacterium causing the highest number of foodborne cases in Denmark. The Danish action plan on campylobacter in food and environment focuses on reducing campylobacter prevalence in broilers and chicken meat. Another important issue is to gain knowledge on other infection routes than chicken meat.


Salmonella causes the second highest number of foodborne cases in Denmark. Since the early 1990s, action plans have been in place to control salmonella, and plans have been established in the poultry, pig and cattle production. Salmonella has been reduced effectively in the broiler and table egg production. Denmark has achieved special guarantees regarding salmonella in table eggs in the EU regulation, and Danish produced chicken meat is also free from salmonella.

In the pig and pork production, the main control strategy is to ensure a low prevalence of salmonella in fresh meat and targets are set a carcass level.

In the cattle production, the action plan is targeting Salmonella Dublin, and the aim is to eradicate the serotype.

These action plans have been successful in reducing the number of human cases.

Other important zoonoses

Other important zoonoses are Listeria, STEC and Yersinia. For further information on control and surveillance data see Annual Report on Zoonoses in Denmark.

Microbiological contaminant

Microbiological contaminant - in the context of food safety - is the term used for pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria in food.

It is not possible to completely eliminate microbiological contaminants from food. However, by taking adequate hygiene precautions, it is possible to minimise the health risk.