Stop Russian Roulette with Raw Eggs and Meat
Outbreaks of salmonella in five places in Queensland have led the Minister of Health to call on people to ‘stop playing Russian roulette’ with raw eggs and meat.
Three of the outbreaks have been linked to more than 30 confirmed cases of raw or undercooked eggs in Brisbane.
Another 37 people were infected after consuming undercooked pork in Mount Isa.
Fancy a game?
Cameron Dick, Minister of Health, said foodborne bacteria can cause death in people with weakened immune systems.
“While eggs are a great source of protein and are important for a healthy diet, if you eat them raw or undercooked, you’re really playing Russian roulette with your health.” He said.
“Salmonella infection in healthy people usually causes mild symptoms of gastroenteritis, but for those with weakened immune systems, it can be fatal if not treated promptly.
“Queensland Health is also investigating a case in Cairns where at least four people were infected with Salmonella of unknown origin.”
About 5,000 cases of Salmonella are reported in Queensland each year.
More cases of salmonellosis are seen during the warmer summer months.
Regarding the infection rate
Health chief Dr Jeanette Young said the rate of Salmonella infection in the state was concerning.
“We especially urge people to be aware of safety when handling and consuming eggs, and urge consumers not to buy or consume cracked, dirty or unstamped eggs, and to report any incidents to their local public health unit, ” She says.
“Everyone should wash their hands before and after handling food to prevent the spread of bacteria.
“Restaurants and other food services must also protect their customers and their reputation by following safe food hygiene practices.
“This includes avoiding the use of cracked or dirty eggs and making only small batches of food containing raw eggs, and ensuring strict temperature control of their food.”
Dr Young said that the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should be especially careful when consuming foods containing raw or lightly cooked eggs.
“When preparing food for an ‘at risk group’ all catering establishments should use safer alternatives to raw or undercooked eggs, for example using either eggs that have been treated to kill Salmonella or by pasteurization or by another approved method.“, She says.
“I encourage all catering establishments to avoid providing raw or lightly cooked eggs or egg-based foods to hospitals and nursing homes such as mayonnaise, aioli, custard, cheesecake, eggnog, fried ice cream and mousse. “