Interview: Importance of Biosecurity in the egg and poultry industry

In recent times, the topic of biosecurity quickly became more and more important and it is now an aspect that we simply cannot underestimate, above all in the egg and poultry business. Read this interview with Niels Krebs, CEO of SANOVO BIOSECURITY, to learn more.

What is biosecurity?  

“Biosecurity deals with the harmful micro-organisms that are around us, also in our food, and if you are working within the food industry, then you might think about food recalls. Food recalls are damaging to food businesses. An average recall costs around 10 million Euros, which receives a lot of public attention and can ruin brands. I guess this would be the first reflection of biosecurity.”


What are the main threats when talking about biosecurity in the egg and poultry industry? 

“Many times, a company looks at the rules of biosecurity and sees it just like things they have to comply with, but there is a bigger reason behind it.

Within the egg and poultry sector, the main challenge is there is a change in the public demand. Many more customers go for free-range flocks and want less sugar, salt, and preservatives and no use of GMOs is a must. Animal welfare, both in regards to public rules as well as personal opinions from customers is something that really is changing the way that you produce your products. This all leads to a worsened background for being able to produce safe products. When you have all these different things that you have to take into consideration when producing your products, then the risk of contamination is larger. Thus, the risk of a recall is much higher than it used to be. This is one of the new challenges that producers are facing today compared to 10-15 years ago.

So, if we are talking about food poisoning, the risk of getting sick of your food, Salmonella and Campylobacter are the most common foodborne diseases in the EU today. More than 250,000 people are hospitalized each year and more than 30,000die each year due to antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is something we can talk more about, but one very important thing to know in regards to this topic’s relation to the poultry industry is that more than 60% of chickens carry microbes that are resistant to the antimicrobial medicine that we use today2. This is why it’s important for us to tackle this issue.”

Why do you think it’s so important for all companies, particularly in this industry, to have an increased focus on biosecurity?  

“This is because antimicrobial resistance is so dangerous. You could say that before WWII people died from simple wounds and operations. Since then, we have gotten used to having antibiotics to treat us. Today it is very unlikely that a simple wound could kill you, but as long as more and more bacteria become resistant this will become a problem. It is said that in 20503 there will be more people that die due to antimicrobial resistance than people that die of cancer today. In the future, it could be a real risk that your daughter gets pneumonia and doesn’t reach the age of 20, and this is another reality than the one we deal with today. The pressure on governments and healthcare will be enormous, and this pressure will turn back on the food producers because this is essentially where many antimicrobial-resistant bacteria come from. 

For instance, over 400,000 people die due to food poisoning worldwide each year4. The WHO5 warns against 12 specific bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials, five of those are food born and seven are very critical within health care. With 60% of chickens carrying these resistant bacteria, this is why it is extremely important for food companies, especially within poultry, to take responsibility and implement preventative measures.

What is SonoSteam and does it interfere with the efficiency of the production?

“The SonoSteam is a very clean process only using steam and ultrasound. The steam is doing the killing, it’s the heat that kills the bacteria, and the ultrasound is only a catalyst. SonoSteam can kill bacteria on the surface of poultry as well as other different kinds of surfaces. And this can be done in line at normal production speed (no slowdowns), so you don’t have to take any precautions, it can be integrated into a normal processing line. SonoSteam is used as well outside of the food industry, e.g. in hospitals on mattresses. SonoSteam is patented and the only one of its kind of process working in this way.”


What has been achieved with SonoSteam and what is the goal of SANOVO Biosecurity? 

“SonoSteam expanded to the UK several years ago when the food standard agency wanted to focus on Campylobacter, since it’s the most common food poison bacteria in the UK. 10 million pounds was put into this project in 2010-2015. The goal was to lower the level of Campylobacter in poultry. In regards to the food standard agency FSA6, SonoSteam had been one of the three main reasons for the lowering of the level of Campylobacter in the UK market. Now, not only are people getting less sick but then the cost of healthcare then goes down7. Investing now in this can save money in the long run.

The UK was the first to focus on the amount of Campylobacter. Now the rest of the EU in 2018 is adding to the hygiene criteria, which is already regulating the amount of salmonella that is allowed to be in poultry. Here in 2021, and towards 2025, the allowed number of Campylobacter samples above 1000 cfu will continue to be lowered. So, overall, the goal of SANOVO Biosecurity is to save lives and increase human welfare.”








1 ECDC, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control

2 EFSA, European Food Safety Authority

3 Rand Europe; Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally, UK Government, May 2016

4 WHO, December 2015

5 WHO, February 2017

6 FSA;

7 FSA;