Salmonella infection is known to be a food-borne illness caused by salmonella bacteria carried by some animals. Scientists from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences share that consumers have an easy approach of shielding themselves from food-borne illness.
Experts evaluate a Salmonella outbreak that had stimulated the recall of more than 500 million eggs. This infection apparently affects the intestine, causing vomiting, fever and other symptoms.
“We have to realize that there’s always the potential that an egg can be contaminated with Salmonella,” commented Penn State food safety specialist Martin Bucknavage. “Penn State researchers have done a lot of work with the state Agriculture Department and industry groups to help egg producers reduce the incidence of Salmonella in eggs. But we have to remember that it’s still possible for Salmonella to be present.”
Two Iowa farms are associated to a salmonellosis outbreak that has affected over 1,300 people across more than a dozen states. Experts highlight that as it is unlikely that any of the recalled eggs are in the northeastern region of the country, consumers can safeguard themselves by cooking or boiling any egg products before consuming them.
“Infected chickens are often asymptomatic, which is why food-safety experts raise so many caveats about consuming raw eggs in any form,” Martin added. “However, cooking your eggs thoroughly will kill the Salmonella, so you can eat eggs with no concern.”
He further shares, “Any process in which the whites or yolks are insufficiently cooked yielding whites or yolks that are still liquid provides the potential for Salmonella to survive. If you are making something such as a Hollandaise sauce, go to the store and buy a pasteurized egg product. There’s no reason that we need to take a risk of having Salmonella when we’re handling raw eggs.”
Scientists reveal that Salmonella bacteria can penetrate into the egg through infected chickens. This causes contamination of both the outside and inside of the egg. They claim that this is the only food-borne pathogen that has this ability to do so.
“Another problem is how we handle egg shells after cracking,” Bucknavage elucidated. “It is a common practice for people to place open shells on the counter, allowing for residual egg material to drip onto a surface where it can cross-contaminate other food items. Proper handling and preparing of eggs will help ensure the safety of our food and the wellbeing of those who consume it.”
From the recent outbreaks experts identify that the one reason for the several cases of salmonellosis is that consumers may not realize what careful cooking entails. For example, scientists share that eggs fried sunny-side-up or over-easy are not completely cooked and apparently still contain the bacteria.