The Food Safety Information Council today released national Omnipoll research that shows one in four Australian adults are taking a food safety risk by eating raw or undercooked egg dishes especially as 12% of them eat them at least monthly.
Cathy Moir, Council Chair, said that eggs are a simple, delicious, cost effective and nutritious part of our diet but we need to be sure the eggs and egg dishes we eat are safe
“Salmonella infection is a common type of food poisoning in Australia and eggs can be contaminated by Salmonella on the outside of the eggshell as they are laid or sometime later. In rare cases, Salmonella can enter eggs when they are being formed in the chicken. Cooking is an effective way to kill all types of Salmonella, however, lots of people like undercooked and raw eggs and egg dishes and this trend is increasing.
“Eggs, whether boiled, poached, sunny-side-up or scrambled, should be cooked sufficiently to make them less risky. Examples of popular risky uncooked egg dishes include uncooked desserts like mousses and tiramisu; sauces and dressings such as hollandaise, fresh mayonnaise, and aioli; drinks containing raw egg such as egg nog, health shakes with added raw egg; and steak tartare.
“Some people are more at risk from food poisoning than others. Dishes containing raw eggs as an ingredient, that aren’t going to be cooked before being eaten, should not be served to vulnerable people. These include babies, toddlers, and young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Be cautious when cooking for these vulnerable people. For example, cook a boiled, fried or poached egg until the yolk and white have started to become firm or, when making omelettes or scrambled eggs, until they have become set.
“When you want to prepare egg dishes that aren’t fully cooked you can protect vulnerable people and other consumers using pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs is an alternative.
“The Food Safety Information Council is calling on retailers to make pasteurised shell eggs and egg pulp products more available to consumers. While these products are currently available for sale to food businesses, aged care and hospitals we would like to see them more accessible to consumers. Especially as our research shows a third of all Australian households have at least one vulnerable person at risk of severe illness if they get food poisoning, for example pregnant women, the elderly and people with reduced immunity.
“Follow these 7 simple tips to minimise your risk of food poisoning from eating eggs:
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