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Salmonella! Why does it create panic in food supply chain?

With the current Covid-19 situation, more and more people are compelled to cook at home. I am sure everyone has been checking the Instagram, Facebook and YouTube videos from our family members, friends and social circle about baking cookies and cakes, trying out new smoothies and starting "new diet". Now, here is the thing; There are some ingredients or food are considered to be in high risk group and should be handled with care. This it is about Salmonella.

I read about eggs recall in an article published by Food Safety News titled "Salmonella prompts recall of more than half a million eggs", published on May 13, 2020. It discusses how a number of supermarkets have recalled eggs sold under different brand names. Supermarket chain like Auchan, Netto, Carrefour and others issued recalls of eggs. They also have released batch number for the eggs that were marketed before withdrawal process for public knowledge.

A simple test like salt water to check eggs is definitely not sufficient to check if it is contaminated. Kindly note that it won’t look spoiled or stink even when it is contaminated. We cannot see any difference with naked human eyes. When the authorities have released the recall on the grounds of Salmonella infection, don’t even try to consume the product (whether by cooking, baking, roasting, washing with chemicals or any other method). There is a high possibility that it is not destroyed/eliminated. The best decision is to send it back to authorities.

In normal situation what can you do is have safe handling of eggs, In US, eggs are washed so you have to keep it refrigerated but in UK & most of EU it is not washed, so it can be stored in room temperature[1].[2] Keep eggs away from fresh produce, or dishes like salad or cooked food that you will warm only for few minutes before consuming. Cross-contamination through utensils, hands are quite common hence washing hands and utensils with soap and water that may have come in contact with eggs is highly encouraged. Eggs and dishes with eggs have to be cooked at least at the temperature of 160℉ or 71 ℃ or higher. In simple words, over-easy eggs, runny whites, sunny side up, half boiled eggs and raw eating of eggs are not safe at all.[3]

Additional information on Salmonella

Common food sources are:[4]

·      Raw and under-cooked meat, including chicken, turkey, duck, beef, veal and pork
·      Raw fruits and vegetables (includes sprouts)
·      Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products including soft cheese, ice cream and yogurt
·       Raw or under-cooked eggs
·       Processed foods like chicken nuggets,  frozen pot pies, stuffed chicken entrees and nut butters

Anyone can get salmonella infection but the cases become serious when the immune system is weak. Most people should recover with few days to a week. Symptoms of salmonella infection is diarrhea, fever, nausea vomiting and abdominal pain. Symptoms typically start 8-72 hrs. after infection. 


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