Food poisoning warning: Can eggs still infect you with salmonella? | Health | Life & Style


Eggs have been the focus of much attention this week after the news that 700,000 contaminated Dutch eggs had been distributed to the UK.

It’s thought that consuming the eggs – contaminated with the pesticide fipronil – could harm people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

According to the Food Standards Agency, it is very unlikely the eggs posed a risk to public health.

However, there is another potential health risk involving eggs – salmonella.

The bacteria was the subject of a huge public health scare involving eggs in the 1990s, in which two million chicks were killed and pregnant women warned against eating runny eggs.

While cases of salmonella poisoning from eggs were rare, the then Minister for Health Edwina Currie’s comments on British eggs being infected caused a significant drop in sales.

Indeed, it was only in 2015 that sales of eggs returned to mid-1980s levels.

Additionally, the Food Standards Agency last year announced a reduction in risk of Lion code eggs served raw or lightly cooked to those in vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, the young and the elderly.

While salmonella is famous for contaminating eggs, the bacteria can also be found in poultry, milk and other dairy products.

As such, it is still quite a common source of food poisoning.

In England and Wales in 2015, for example, there were 8,451 confirmed cases.

Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever, according to the NHS.

It takes on average 12 to 72 hours for symptoms to develop, and people usually recover within a week without treatment.

According to the NHS, you may need to visit a hospital if the illness causes dehydration.

Groups most at risk include young children, the elderly and people who have immune systems that are not working properly.

You can avoid being infected by washing hands thoroughly, keeping cooked food and raw food separate, and cooking food thoroughly.

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