Handling, not the Heat: Egg Farm Salmonella Outbreaks Not Due to Summer Season

Chef and raw meat

Compared to other seasons, Australia’s free-range egg farms seem to be at a higher risk for Salmonella contamination during summer. This has been a cause for concern among those in the food and beverage industry since eggs are a staple of the Aussie diet.

A new study from the University of Adelaide, however, shows that the soaring temperatures are not to blame for the instances of food poisoning from eggs during the summer months. Instead, evidence shows that poor food hygiene and egg handling practices in the supply chain and restaurant kitchens are the real culprit for the summer outbreak.

Farm Management and Husbandry Factors Affect Egg Production

In recent years, there has been an increase in the consumption of free-range eggs. Suppliers are tasked with providing safe egg products for consumption, free from Salmonella contamination. While Salmonella Typhimurium is present in and around Australian farms, the weather only played a small factor in its spread; it was, in fact, the poor management and husbandry practices at each farm that was causing the bacteria to spread.

The Importance of Proper Egg Handling Practices

Kapil Chousalkar, an Associate Professor at the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide Roseworthy campus, highlights the importance of practising good hand hygiene when cooking eggs. Those seeking to upgrade their qualifications and become accredited as a food safety supervisor can take a Level 2 Handling Certification Course to ensure that they follow nationwide standards and follow uniform practices when it comes to egg contamination and safety.

Australia has a broad range of food safety and surveillance programs in place. To make sure that the Salmonella contamination is suppressed, the nation should continue to uphold proper food safety standards in every step of the supply chain— from farm to plate.