With sizzling temperatures soaring into the 40’s in NSW this week, NSW Health is warning people to be wary of Salmonella poisoning.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health advises “Products containing undercooked eggs, and the spread of germs in the kitchen, are the most common source of salmonellosis outbreaks in NSW,”.
Salmonellosis is a type of gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella bacteria found in animals.
Careful preparation and storage of food is the best defence against salmonellosis, Dr Sheppeard said. Food must be cooked thoroughly to kill Salmonella and food should not be left out in the heat. The longer food is left at room temperature the more the Salmonella bacteria will multiply. Refrigerated food should be kept at less than five degrees Celsius and hot foods should be kept above 60 degrees Celsius.
NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said to reduce the risk of Salmonella poisoning, consumers and food retailers can use commercially produced products instead of handmade mayonnaise and sauces when preparing food.
“It is also much safer to use commercially pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs in ready-to-eat products such as desserts and dressings,” Dr Szabo said.
“Businesses in NSW must comply with strict requirements around the use of raw eggs in foods. Retailers should remember that food laws in NSW prohibit the sale of eggs with dirty or cracked shells, which increase the risk of contamination, and should reject any eggs that are not intact.
“While preparing and handling food, keep benches and utensils clean and dry and do not allow cross contamination of raw and cooked products.”
Salmonellosis symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually start around six to 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten and usually last for four to seven days, but can continue for much longer.
“Most people recover from salmonellosis by resting and drinking fluids but antibiotics are required in complicated cases,” Dr Sheppeard said.
For further information, see the Salmonellosis fact sheet on the NSW Health website.