The network was officially created in 1997 and today includes nearly 150 public and private veterinary laboratories in 94 départements across France. It is coordinated by ANSES’s Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Food Safety, and processing, which receives Salmonella strains of non-human origin from the various partner laboratories for serological typing (serotyping(1) and/or molecular typing(2)), and collects information on Salmonella strains that have undergone serotyping by the partner laboratories.
The strains collected by the network come from three different areas within the agro-food sector:
- the animal health and production area in which strains are isolated from samples taken from animals and from the immediate farming environment;
- the food safety area which involves strains isolated from human or animal food, and from the environment in processing plants and slaughterhouses;
- the natural ecosystem for all strains found in the natural environment.
One of the main objectives of the network is to collect and characterise Salmonella serotypes(3) of non-human origin isolated from the food chain nationwide, in order to analyse geographical changes and differences over time.
It specifically provides a source of information on rare serotypes or those not covered by regulations. In addition, some of the collected strains are analysed by the Laboratory for Food Safety to characterise their susceptibility to antibiotics. The laboratory studies resistance mechanisms and monitors resistant phenotypes that are important in terms of public health.
Epidemiological data correlated with strain characterisation data can be used for prevention or investigation actions concerning outbreaks of foodborne illness, in collaboration with the National Reference Centre (NRC) for Salmonella, and the Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS).
(1) Differentiation of bacteria on the basis of antigenic properties
(2) Differentiation on the basis of genetic properties
(3) Group of bacteria with common antigenic characteristics