Advice to Catering and Food Service Businesses about Salmonella Enteritidis
To follow up the heads up in Food News 25 June 2021, if you use eggs to make and serve food in your business, please consider these precautionary measures that you can take to protect your customers from foodborne illness. New Zealand Food Safety has been carrying out tracing and testing of poultry operations after Salmonella Enteritidis was found at an Auckland hatchery that supplies chicks to other operators, earlier this year.
To date S. Enteritidis has been found in the environment of some farms, but no eggs have tested positive for the bacterium. Restrictions have been placed on some farms while the issue is managed to protect public health. There remains a low risk that some eggs could contain S. Enteritidis, so it’s timely to provide advice to consumers and food businesses.
Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. There are key actions that your food service business can take to protect against S. Enteritidis to support the safe practices in your Food Control Plan or National Programme.
- Check eggs are free from dirt, faecal matter (so this won't contaminate other foods/surfaces) and cracks (which could let bugs through the shell) before accepting these on delivery.
- Keep eggs in the fridge (to slow any bug growth) until used.
- Cook eggs thoroughly – until the white is completely firm and the yolk is either thick, or begins to thicken (this should kill any Salmonella).
- Wash your hands after handling eggs in their shells, and before handling cooked or ready-to-eat foods (so you reduce the risk of transferring any bugs from shell to food).
- Cook/serve shell eggs within the date-code on the carton (so eggs are fresh).
- Don’t serve raw eggs, or products containing raw eggs to customers. Children under two-years-of-age, pregnant woman, the frail and elderly, and people with low or compromised immune systems are more susceptible to getting sick from any harmful bugs in the food.
- Consider using pasteurised egg products (instead of raw shell eggs) in raw-egg dishes (such as aioli) or lightly-cooked egg dishes (because the pasteurising process will have killed any harmful bugs). Adding acids like vinegar (acetic) or lemon juice (citric) may slow bug growth, but won't kill any Salmonella present.
- Wash and dry surfaces and utensils which come in contact with raw eggs (to prevent bugs spreading and growing – bugs like moisture).
If your customers have health concerns after consuming eggs or chicken, they should seek medical advice from their doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116).
For more details:
- June 2021 media release New Zealand Food Safety places precautionary controls on North Island egg producer
- New Zealand Food Safety’s Salmonella symptoms and advice web page
- Ministry of Health’s Salmonellosis web page.
Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 00 83 33.
29 June 2021