The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella on seven different poultry farms.

The Food Safety Authority and the Health Service Executive have been notified.

The department confirmed that chickens on seven broiler farms have tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis.

The department says it has undertaken a series of investigations in order to identify the source of the infection.

This strain of salmonella may not cause any clinical disease in poultry but can post an occupational health risk to people who closely handle infected birds.

It can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.

Most people recover without treatment.

The department says there are no food safety risks and the birds effected are subject to the prescribed controls - either destruction on-farm or to a process of controlled sanitary slaughter.

Irish Farmers' Association sources suggest the outbreak is not a cluster but is instead on several farms in different parts of the country.