One Health surveillance-A cross-sectoral detection, characterization, and notification of foodborne pathogens

Elina Tast Lahti*, Nadja Karamehmedovic, Hilde Riedel, Linnea Blom, Jeppe Boel, Elisabetta Delibato, Martine Denis, Alieda van Essen-Zandbergen, Aurora Garcia-Fernandez, Rene Hendriksen, Anna Heydecke, Angela H. A. M. van Hoek, Tom Huby, Renata Kwit, Claudia Lucarelli, Karl Lundin, Valeria Michelacci, Slawomir Owczarek, Isaac Ring, Jette Sejer KjeldgaardIngegerd Sjögren, Milena Skóra, Mia Torpdahl, María Ugarte-Ruiz, Kees Veldman, Eleonora Ventola, Magdalena Zajac, Cecilia Jernberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Introduction: Several Proficiency Test (PT) or External Quality Assessment (EQA) schemes are currently available for assessing the ability of laboratories to detect and characterize enteropathogenic bacteria, but they are usually targeting one sector, covering either public health, food safety or animal health. In addition to sector-specific PTs/EQAs for detection, cross-sectoral panels would be useful for assessment of the capacity to detect and characterize foodborne pathogens in a One Health (OH) perspective and further improving food safety and interpretation of cross-sectoral surveillance data. The aims of the study were to assess the cross-sectoral capability of European public health, animal health and food safety laboratories to detect, characterize and notify findings of the foodborne pathogens Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and Yersinia enterocolitica, and to develop recommendations for future cross-sectoral PTs and EQAs within OH. The PT/EQA scheme developed within this study consisted of a test panel of five samples, designed to represent a theoretical outbreak scenario.
Methods: A total of 15 laboratories from animal health, public health and food safety sectors were enrolled in eight countries: Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The laboratories analyzed the samples according to the methods used in the laboratory and reported the target organisms at species level, and if applicable, serovar for Salmonella and bioserotype for Yersinia.
Results: All 15 laboratories analyzed the samples for Salmonella, 13 for Campylobacter and 11 for Yersinia. Analytical errors were predominately false negative results. One sample (S. Stockholm and Y. enterocolitica O:3/BT4) with lower concentrations of target organisms was especially challenging, resulting in six out of seven false negative results. These findings were associated with laboratories using smaller sample sizes and not using enrichment methods. Detection of Salmonella was most commonly mandatory to notify within the three sectors in the eight countries participating in the pilot whereas findings of Campylobacter and Y. enterocolitica were notifiable from human samples, but less commonly from animal and food samples.
Discussion: The results of the pilot PT/EQA conducted in this study confirmed the possibility to apply a cross-sectoral approach for assessment of the joint OH capacity to detect and characterize foodborne pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1129083
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 773830: One Health European Joint Programme and was part of the OH EJP project CARE. Research at the National Veterinary Research Institute (PIWet), Poland, was also partially supported by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science from the funds for science in the years 2018–2022 allocated for the implementation of and co-financed international project.


  • One Health surveillance
  • External Quality Assessment
  • Proficiency tests
  • Detection and characterization
  • Notification
  • Foodborne pathogens


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