How Eggs Get Salmonella
More than 200 million eggs have been recalled from US stores recently so it’s worth knowing exactly why eggs are such an at risk food for this particular strain of nasty bacteria. First of all, let’s look into what exactly Salmonella is.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause infection in humans, localized in the intestinal tract and occasionally, though much more rarely, in the bloodstream. The symptoms of the infection are incredibly varied but prominently include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever. Each year, salmonella is estimated to cause 1 million food-borne illnesses in the United States with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths.
High-risk foods include salads, chicken and eggs. Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella via a number of ways. The most common is through the introduction of fecal matter into the egg’s shell. This particular source of Salmonella comes from the intestinal tract of chickens, and is highly contagious to humans. Salmonella also affects the ovaries of perfectly healthy hens, transferring over to the egg by proxy.
It’s worth noting that Salmonella can be found in all quality of eggs, meaning there is no real way for a supermarket to determine whether a batch has been contaminated or not. The best way to prevent getting sick yourself is to avoid serving undercooked eggs, as cooking them thoroughly means that the bacteria will be killed off by the high heat involved. You can also pay attention to which brands and batches are being recalled, making sure not to pick up contaminated eggs. If you do find yourself in possession of eggs you know to be contaminated, just return them to the store.
It’s definitely worth paying attention to these outbreaks though because while a normal person may get away with being sick for 24 hours, more at risk individuals like infants and the elderly could be at serious risk if infected.