Right now, there is an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella (food poisoning) in the lower mainland and in BC. Eggs are the most likely cause of this outbreak. Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Environmental Health Ofﬁcers have identiﬁed many restaurants and other food establishments illegally using poor quality eggs. These eggs are easily identiﬁed as cracked and dirty, and are a problem because they pose an increased risk of transmitting diseases (such as Salmonella) to people handling or consuming them. Commercial egg producers employ a wide range of quality and safety control systems during production, storage, and distribution that greatly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. In contrast, people selling eggs at a discount rate (usually through door to door sales with no identiﬁable business name) often obtain their eggs from sources where these safety controls are not in place. In many cases, the eggs have been rejected by the legitimate market due to quality concerns. To reduce the risk of Salmonella infection all eggs used in restaurants and other food establishments must be purchased from a reputable supplier; the eggs must be clean with no cracks and be kept refrigerated.
Tips for decreasing risk
Eggs are a healthy source of protein and do not need to be avoided. Proper care must be taken with eggs to avoid Salmonella. Restaurants and other food establishments can decrease the risk of Salmonella to staff and patrons by:
- Purchasing their eggs from reputable sources;
- Using grade A or B eggs that are clean and not cracked or dirty;
- Whenever possible, thoroughly cooking all eggs and foods containing eggs;
- Using pasteurized eggs in foods where eggs are served raw or undercooked;
- Keeping eggs refrigerated;
- Washing hands after handling eggs;
- Preventing contact with other foods while preparing eggs;
- Avoid “pooling” of eggs – cracking large numbers of eggs into a single container for large scale production of product.
Please note Salmonella can be transmitted from one person to another so remember to always wash your hands.
Courtesy of Food Safety Update (January 2012, Fraser Health/Vancouver Coastal Health)
- No sunny-side up eggs anymore (examiner.com)
- 20 Food Poisoning Dangers, Common and Uncommon (tleonidas.wordpress.com)