Salmonella detected in Busselton

City of Busselton environmental health officer Jane Cook inside the lab examining egg shells for salmonella. She said wash hands regularly and keep surfaces clean.
City of Busselton environmental health officer Jane Cook inside the lab examining egg shells for salmonella. She said wash hands regularly and keep surfaces clean.

Three cases of salmonella have been detected in Busselton in recent months, with cases being linked to uncooked egg products such as chocolate mousse, aioli and hollandaise sauce.

City of Busselton environmental health officer Jane Cook said they were continuing to work with food businesses on handling and preparing eggs safely.

In the last few months the Department of Health had contacted the city’s environmental health officers more regularly about salmonella and they were trying to get a handle on the food distribution process.

Ms Cook said it was hard because salmonella was commonly associated with eggs and raw chicken and as consumers people have increased their consumption.

She said this had led to an increase in production and it was hard to determine if the spike in illness was due to people eating more eggs and chicken.

Ms Cook said eggs were used as a thickener in some recipes, which meant that they were not cooked and while they may have been chilled, heat was not used to kill the bacteria.

“The good thing about salmonella, it is quite easily killed with heat, you only need to achieve about 60 degrees Celsius for five minutes,” she said.

“Anything that goes in the oven or fry pan is safe.”

Ms Cook said raw chicken could be the cause when surfaces were not cleaned properly or there was cross contamination.

“Any eggs you can see which has fecal matter or dirt should be avoided and be mindful that any egg has bacteria on the outside,” she said.

“Eggs come from an animal’s inside and if the animal was not well it sheds some salmonella, most of the time it is just on the outside but it could go into the white if it was a bad contamination.”

When eggs are cracked, Ms Cook said if the yolk or egg white came into contact with the shell it could potentially have the bacteria going into the food.

“Using products which help people separate eggs helps and people should not be alarmed about eating eggs because they are nutritious and full of protein,” she said.

“If you are using eggs for an uncooked product just try and handle them so they are kept refrigerated because bacteria does not like cold temperatures or heat, ash your hands and keep things clean.”