She confirmed that the 60'000 hens on the two farms will be put down and the carcases taken to a specific treatment plant on the Peninsula, to be eliminated.
The problem was discovered during routine inspections as part of an official control programme set up by the central ministry of agriculture, in anticipation of a European directive which will come into force within three years. Moner said that 30 inspections had been made at 12 poultry farms, and the results, she claimed, show that the controls are working. She added that according to ministry figures, no further cases are expected to be uncovered, although the controls will be maintained.
Moner said that the firms involved will be entitled to ministry aid to mitigate the problems.
Inspections are also being carried out in poultry farms in Minorca, although the results are not yet available.
The 60'000 hens represent about 20 per cent of the egg-laying birds in the Balearics.
The discovery of the salmonella bacteria in the hens has also been notified to the Balearic Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, which is responsible for tracing eggs from their origin to their destination, in order to guarantee the quality of products which enter the food chain, Moner said. She added that the Ministry does not classify this case as one of food security but as one of animal health.
In recent weeks, Spanish produced eggs have been receiving a bad press in Great Britain, where it is alleged that many of the eggs exported to the United Kingdom are contaminated by salmonella bacteria. It was also alleged that many eggs labelled free range were in fact from battery hens.
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