The Age, Kate Hagan - March3, 2014
Victoria’s chief health officer has warned about the dangers of eating raw or undercooked eggs following a salmonella outbreak that has caused more than 220 people to become sick with gastroenteritis.
Dr Rosemary Lester said clusters of gastroenteritis due to salmonella at two restaurants - the Bottle of Milk in Torquay and the Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda - had been linked to the Green Eggs farm in western Victoria.
She said most of the cases were linked to eggs consumed at the Bottle of Milk, with a handful of cases at the Newmarket Hotel. She said the health department was satisfied that the restaurants’ food handling procedures were safe.
Dr Lester said those affected by the outbreak ranged in age from nine months to more than 65 years.
Typical symptoms of gastroenteritis include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting with groups including young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with lowered immunity at greatest risk.
Dr Lester said the Department of Environment and Primary Industries had restricted the sale of eggs from the farm until additional cleaning and hygiene measures were in place to improve food safety.
She said thoroughly cooking eggs killed any bacteria that might be present and warned people to be careful when preparing food and drinks containing raw and undercooked eggs.
High-risk foods included eggs prepared with runny yolks, along with mayonnaise, aioli, eggnog and tiramisu.
‘‘People who have bought [Green Eggs] in recent weeks and still have eggs in their fridge should only use them for cooked dishes and foods,’’ Dr Lester said.
‘‘Restaurants wishing to prepare raw egg dishes or dressings should source those eggs from another source until such time as we are satisfied that changes at the farm have been successfully implemented.’’
Green Eggs proprietor Alan Green said he was devastated that the outbreak appeared to be linked to his free-range farm, which supplies restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and supermarkets across Victoria.
‘‘Our number-one priority is public safety so we are alerting all our customers and we are doing all we can ... to review our systems and procedures and find out if, where and how our system has broken down,’’ he said.
Bottle of Milk co-owner Nick Cogger said it had been very upsetting to have people become sick after eating at his restaurant, which was due to reopen this Friday after a voluntary closure following the outbreak.
He said he had taken the opportunity to renovate the kitchen during the shutdown and was looking forward to ‘‘moving on and making the best burgers we can’’.
Mr Cogger said his chefs had previously made raw egg mayonnaise using Green Eggs but had decided to use a pasteurised mayonnaise from now on.
Newmarket Hotel owner Tom Walker said they felt terrible for those affected.
"We take health and hygiene extremely seriously and are relieved that local inspections have revealed all practices and processes to be compliant and
more than satisfactory," Mr Walker said.
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Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/egg-warning-after-salmonella-outbreak-20140303-33z36.html#ixzz2v2HmfD00