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3 August 2021

Eggs tested for salmonella bacteria

Consumers advised to cook eggs thoroughly.

Poultry farms responsible for 80 percent of the country’s egg production are being tested for salmonella enteritidis.

There’s developing evidence of a link between poultry products and recent cases of salmonella enteritidis in humans, New Zealand Food Safety said.

So far this year, there have been 47 reported cases of the illness. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Testing of poultry operations began earlier this year after the bacteria was found at an Auckland poultry farm.

Restrictions have been placed on three North Island egg-laying operations to prevent infected eggs reaching consumers.

The testing programme has now been extended to 20 egg-laying facilities and five chick rearers. Testing is expected to take two months.

New Zealand Food Safety said efforts had focussed on egg producers rather than meat “as farms have existing measures to protect against salmonella and cooking chicken meat kills the bacterium”.

To reduce the risk of illness, it’s advising consumers to:

  • Keep eggs in the fridge, and cook them until the white is firm and yolk is starting to thicken.

  • Avoid raw or undercooked egg products, especially if you’re preparing food for children under two, pregnant women, elderly people or anyone with a compromised immune system.

  • Wash your hands after touching eggs, eat them before the date on the carton and only use clean, uncracked eggs that are free from dirt and faecal matter.

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