Published Date: 2004-10-19 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Salmonella, eggs - UK ex Spain
Archive Number: 20041019.2835
SALMONELLA, EGGS - UK EX SPAIN
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004
From: ProMED-mail.org <email@example.com>
Source: FoodNavigator.com [edited]
Spanish eggs contaminate UK food chain?
UK food watchdog warns it will bump up prevention actions for food
pathogens as salmonella cases are on the rise, but contamination focus on
Spanish eggs seems likely. Outbreaks of [disease caused by] the salmonella
bacterium, found in foodstuffs of animal origin, can lead to hefty costs
for the public and private sectors.
The UK Food Standards Agency and the Health Protection Agency (HPA)
announced that, following investigations since 2002 into more than 80
outbreaks of _Salmonella enteritidis_, with 2000 confirmed and an estimated
6000 potential cases, they have decided to step up action against the
common bacterium; many such outbreaks have been linked to Spanish eggs used
in the catering trade.
The UK is still recovering from wide outbreaks of _S. enteritidis_ in the
1980s that strongly affected the local egg industry. However, figures now
show that the number of cases in England and Wales has decreased
significantly, from 16 047 in 1998 to 9757 in 2003, mainly due to industry
Despite reports from the UK food watchdog [FSA?] that [cases of disease
from] salmonella are on the rise, UK egg producers can find some relief,
because the FSA suggests "that the use by the catering trade of Spanish
eggs is a major source of this infection." According to the British Egg
Information Service, total production in the UK is around 8800 tons per
annum, with a current value in the region of 16.3 million UK pounds [USD
Dr Judith Hilton, head of microbiological safety at the FSA, commented:
"Salmonella in UK eggs has been steadily decreasing, but there is still a
particular problem with some Spanish eggs. Since Jan 2004, these eggs have
had to be marked 'ES' so both caterers and consumers know that they will
need to take extra care if they use these eggs, or they may choose to use
UK eggs, marked 'UK'."
Advice from the FSA to the food industry includes ensuring that the eggs
are commercially heat-treated and that caterers should use pasteurized eggs
in raw or lightly cooked products. "All products made with Spanish eggs
should be thoroughly cooked," warned the government agency.
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Manchester Online [edited]
Bug alert on Spanish eggs
Health experts are warning caterers not to use imported eggs from Spain, as
they have been identified as the source of salmonella outbreaks around
Hundreds of catering firms in the region are being contacted as part of the
alert. This follows 4 outbreaks of salmonella in Greater Manchester and
Cheshire this year that were linked to contaminated Spanish eggs.
The imported eggs are not subject to the same rigorous checks as those
produced on farms in Britain. The North West Health Protection Agency (HPA)
has teamed up with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after a national
outbreak team identified at least 2000 people nationwide who contracted
salmonella from Spanish eggs in the last 2 years. Experts believe the true
figure may be as high as 6000.
Caterers, restaurants and hotels are targeted in the health warning,
because they are the largest users of imported Spanish eggs. These are not
generally available in supermarkets, and householders should not be at
risk. Spain is the largest single exporter of eggs to England and Wales.
They are popular with caterers because they are cheaper than British eggs.
But health watchdogs say Spain has not caught up with the UK regulations on
salmonella, which include vaccinating chickens to protect against the disease.
Tests by the national outbreak team found Spanish eggs were 5 times more
likely to have salmonella compared with UK-produced eggs. Prof Martyn
Regan, the north west's lead epidemiologist, said: "We are asking the
catering industry in the region to help us eliminate these random outbreaks
of infection by choosing UK eggs, which are less likely to be infected with
[A classic vehicle for non-typhoid (and non-paratyphoid) salmonellae, eggs
continue to play a part in this zoonosis. The UK program, however,
demonstrates that risk of egg-related salmonellosis can be lessened at the
source. Adequately cooking egg products lowers risk at the "finish" -- in
the kitchen. - Mod.LL]