15 April 2011
Salmonella poisoning from eggs is increasing in Australia, experts say, after analysing almost a decade of data on foodborne disease.
Researchers from the government food surveillance network, OzFoodNet, found 38 people had died and more than 1500 had been hospitalised in food-related disease outbreaks that occurred between 2001 and 2009.
Salmonella caused 40 per cent of the outbreak illnesses, affecting more than 16,000 people, and 21 of the deaths, the Communicable Disease Control Conference was told in Canberra (4-6 Apr 2011).
"We saw an increase in outbreaks associated with eggs, which is a major concern", said researchers from the College of Medicine, Biology and Environment at the Australian National University.
Tests showed many of the outbreaks were due to bacteria on the surface of the shell, rather than inside the egg.
"In huge outbreaks in the northern hemisphere it has been a problem of internal contamination of the eggs, which is not something we think is happening in Australia", they said.
"Nevertheless, we have seen an increase in egg-associated outbreaks, often due to the fact that people are eating raw eggs more commonly in dishes like hollandaise [and] tiramisu."
Egg-containing salads and sushi were common foods linked to outbreaks.
Last Reviewed: 15 April 2011