The goal of this study was to improve the diagnostic applicability of genus- and serovar- (S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium) specific PCR systems in screening faecal and caecal samples of poultry, poultry feed and poultrymeat for Salmonella, by keeping the opportunity to obtain Salmonella cultures from positive samples. Peptone broth pre-enrichment cultures of the samples were tested by PCR. In faecal and caecal samples from broiler chicks a strong inhibitory action was frequently observed. This could be reduced markedly by the addition of bovine serum albumin (BSA) acting as amplification facilitator. The results of testing pre-enrichment cultures from artificially contaminated faecal, poultry feed and poultrymeat samples (using S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium and S. Hadar as contaminants) suggest that the sensitivity of the above systems is 101-102 CFU g-1 sample. The testing of 95 caecal samples from slaughtered chicks resulted in 49% culture-positive and 76% PCR-positive samples. The suitability of a generic real-time PCR for testing faecal samples of poultry was also studied. Its detection limit for these samples was found to be lower than that of the diagnostic PCR system. Both methods reduced the time required for Salmonella detection to 24-30 h, and the advantage of the real-time PCR was its increased sensitivity. We have established a diagnostic and a real-time PCR system for rapid and reliable genus- and serovar- (S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium) specific detection of Salmonella for monitoring purposes in the poultry food chain. Sensitivity is equal to, or higher than, that of the standard bacterial culture method, and the method still provides the Salmonella culture if needed.