Salmonella outbreaks a ‘learning experience’ for egg industry

The Australian egg industry has spoken out about the recent spate of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) contaminations, calling it a ‘learning experience’ for the industry.

SE was detected on eleven egg farms in New South Wales and one in Victoria, with all sites quarantined and decontaminated.

“An intensive tracing and testing process has been conducted by government authorities since late-2018,” Australian Eggs’ managing director Rowan McMonnies said.

“This process has ensured that when SE has emerged it has been caught early and the public and broader industry were protected. All the contaminated sites have been detected through this process and they continue to be limited to a cluster of interconnected farms.”

McMonnies said that SE is a new and unique bacteria for Australia and responding to the threat has been a learning curve for both government and industry.

“Risks are driven by biosecurity practices and farm management and it is these issues that are the focus of our response.”

He said the salmonella outbreak hit egg farmers hard and many of the contaminated farms have been unable to recover.

“Having withstood a year of drought that doubled the cost of feed grain, egg farmers now face the cost of even higher biosecurity measures.”

Consumers are advised to adhere to basic safe food practices to protect against Salmonella, including cooking eggs properly, washing hands and wiping surfaces to limit possible cross-contamination.

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