Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause potentially fatal food poisoning, was detected in more than 26 percent of egg-producing farms surveyed by the Japan Poultry Association.

Although the figure is on par with the 20-30 percent estimated average in the European Union, questions remain about the infection rate in Japan. The United States and some European countries conduct nationwide salmonella surveys on a regular basis. However, Japan has not done so. Local governments or layer farm operators have so far conducted salmonella surveys only after strong suspicions arise that hens are infected.

The farm ministry plans to conduct a larger-scale survey over five years from next fiscal year at an estimated cost of about $739,418. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ survey will cover poultry farms, wholesalers and retailers.