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Salmonella Outbreaks Attributed to Improperly Cooked Eggs


According to a Food Safety News posting on August 29th Public health authorities in Hong Kong identified two outbreaks of salmonellosis during May and June. In total 50 cases were confirmed. The vehicle of infection was undercooked scrambled eggs and in some cases investigations showed prolonged storage at sub-optimal temperature.

Even if eggs are contaminated with relatively low levels of Salmonella Enteritidis, (104 cfu)       adequate cooking should prevent infection. The contents of a contaminated egg will be rendered innocuous if thoroughly cooked to attain an internal temperature of 160F for at least one minute. High levels of contamination are associated with prolonged storage or thermal abuse or their combination.

The second aspect from these outbreaks is that the eggs supplied to markets including restaurants in Hong Kong are derived from flocks infected with Salmonella either a group D that infects consumers by the vertical route or by fecal contamination of the shell if eggs are improperly sanitized.