Department of Health

Advice to curb rate of salmonella infections (Archived content)

19/06/12
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

All registered restaurants, cafes, bed and breakfast operators and caterers in Victoria have been provided with detailed advice on how to reduce the risk of salmonella infections.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester, said in recent years an increasing proportion of salmonella outbreaks have been associated with foods containing raw or lightly cooked eggs. Similar trends have also been seen in other parts of Australia.

“The material has been distributed to more than 25,000 registered businesses and had a particular focus on the correct storage, handling and preparation of eggs,” Dr Lester said.

“We want to ensure that eggs, which are a highly nutritious and enjoyable food, are handled as safely as possible.

“Guidance has also been given to local government environmental health officers and food safety auditors.

“The advice will assist them to ensure that food is being prepared correctly and enable them to ask specific questions when visiting business about egg handling and storage practices.

“Food safety auditors have an obligation to notify the council responsible for registering a food business if there is a serious risk of food being sold or prepared which is either unsafe or unsuitable.

“In fact, all Victorians should heed the advice so that there is greater community-wide awareness about how the correct storage, handling and preparation of eggs in the home can reduce the incidence of salmonella illness.

“Eggs should be handled with the same care as other raw foods such as dairy products, meat and poultry,” Dr Lester said.

Dr Lester said the advice on egg safety was prompted by increases in the notification of salmonella infections to the Department of Health over the past 5 years and increases in the proportion of outbreaks due to food containing raw or lightly cooked eggs or cross contamination from eggs.

“While the advice has targeted restaurants and cafes, the messages are just as important for all Victorians using eggs in the home.

“All businesses and households should only purchase or accept clean, uncracked eggs that are supplied in clean packaging, labelled with details of the supplier, batch number identification and a best before date.

“Store whole eggs refrigerated in the carton and ensure foods made with raw eggs are always refrigerated. Best before dates should be checked regularly and eggs discarded when that date has passed,” she said.

Detailed information is available on the Department of Health website at: www.health.vic.gov.au/eggs

Translations in Arabic, Vietnamese and simplified Chinese are also available on the website.

Reviewed 19 June 2012

Health.vic

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Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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