The Impact of Salmonella

In humans, 60% of salmonellosis cases are from Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) and Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) — the two most common serovars among poultry.1  

Most people become infected with Salmonella after consuming contaminated food or drinks, including poultry meat and eggs.  

Typically, humans start to develop symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps around 12-72 hours after contamination.1 In most cases, the illness lasts for four to seven days, and the majority of people recover without any special medical treatment. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that the individual becomes dangerously dehydrated and has to be treated in a hospital.2  

"Most people become infected with Salmonella after consuming contaminated food or drinks, including poultry meat and eggs."

In severe cases, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other organs. It can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics and fluid therapy.2 

The Prevalence and Cost of Salmonella 

Globally, it is estimated that Salmonella causes 94 million human infections and 155,000 deaths annually.1 However, reporting varies by country and underreporting is common. In the EU, at least 700,000 — and possibly as many as 13 million — human salmonellosis cases go unreported every year.3,4 

The economic toll of Salmonella is significant, costing the EU 170 million-3.3 billion euros per year. It is estimated that Salmonella creates the biggest economic burden of all foodborne diseases in the U.S., costing more than $4 billion every year.5  

The Impact of Salmonella on Poultry Product Brands 

Salmonella contamination can have a detrimental effect on poultry product brands and poultry operations alike. In most countries, Salmonella is a notifiable disease and must be reported to the World Health Organization for Animal Health.6  

If an exporting breeding flock is involved with the Salmonella contamination, the trading operations will be suspended until the premises have been cleared and disinfected and replacement flocks have shown to be free of infection. This could mean a loss of trade for several months and a substantial loss for poultry operations.  

There are several ways Salmonella can affect human health and poultry product brands:  

  • Consumer health implications  
  • Product recalls  
  • Destruction and replacement of infected flocks or the ability to sell fresh product  
  • Supply chain disruptions, including plant closings  
  • Cost of additional sanitation and inspection measures  
  • Restricted market access  
  • Loss of consumer confidence, which could lead to long-term damage to a brand 

Case study: Economic impact of a Salmonella recall on a poultry product brand  

In 2018, a U.S. egg producer voluntarily recalled nearly 207 million shell eggs due to the risk of Salmonella contamination following reports of 45 cases of human salmonellosis in at least 10 states. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the potential source of the outbreak to one of the producer’s farms. In response to the outbreak, the egg producer implemented a comprehensive restoration plan, including new equipment, processes and land and building improvements at a cost of more than $2 million. Despite the production improvement costs being easy to quantify, others were harder, including the cost of long-term damage to the producer's brand.7 

1 Hendriksen RS, Vierira AR, et al. Global Monitoring of Salmonella Serovar Distribution from the World Health Organization Global Foodborne Infections Network Country Data Bank: Results of Quality Assured Laboratories from 2001 to 2007. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 2011;8:887-900.  

2 CDC, 2021 Salmonella Homepage | CDC  

3 EFSA and ECDC. The European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and foodborne outbreaks in 2017. ESFA Journal. 2018;16(12):5500.  

4 EFSA. Scientific Opinion on a quantitative estimation of the public health impact of setting a new target for the reduction of Salmonella in laying hens. EFSA Journal. 2010;8(4):1546.  

5 Scharff, RL. Economic Burden from Health Losses Due to Foodborne Illness in the United States. Journal of Food Protection. 2012;75:123-31.  

6 AHVLA, 2012.  

7 Dreyer J. Rose Acre Farms shares egg recall experiences. 2018. 


About Elanco  

Learn why we're a leading provider of innovative solutions that protect and enhance animal health.  

Read About Elanco  [LINK:] 

Baytril, Cosabody, Grobig, Lanirat, Tylan, Virkon, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. ©2022 Elanco or its affiliates. PM-ZA-23-0016