JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Raw eggs warning to restaurants

Canberra restaurants that use raw eggs in their food are "dicing with death" according to the ACT's chief health officer.

Canberra restaurants that use raw eggs in their food are "dicing with death" according to the ACT's chief health officer. Photo: Supplied

Canberra restaurants that use raw eggs in their food are "dicing with death", according to the ACT's chief health officer.

Dr Paul Kelly told a public hearing on Thursday that eating cooked eggs was the only way diners could protect themselves from salmonella infections caused by egg products.

The comments follow Canberra's largest salmonella outbreak last month, which was traced back to raw egg mayonnaise served at the Copa Brazilian restaurant in Dickson.

Dr Kelly told a select committee on estimates hearing at the Legislative Assembly that ACT Health had identified 162 cases of gastroenteritis as a result of the outbreak. He likened serving raw egg mayonnaise to "playing Russian roulette".

"Whilst most eggs are quite safe every so often there's one that isn't," Dr Kelly said.

"In a busy restaurant whereby this particular mayonnaise was being made in six-litre lots using up to 30 eggs at a time, you start to increase your risk of getting a bad egg. Eventually you are going to get a bad egg and if you serve raw egg products in your restaurant then you're dicing with death,'' he said.

"I think we've got to take that seriously as a public health authority and we've been very strongly putting that information out to restaurants."

A Victorian egg supplier has been under investigation over the outbreak.

Earlier this month, Dr Kelly called for a national approach for dealing with the issue of raw egg products.

On Thursday he said diners could avoid infections by eating cooked eggs, but restaurants had the option of purchasing pasteurised egg products.

"These are eggs that have undergone a procedure which makes them more safe, not 100 per cent safe, but more safe than raw egg."

Dr Kelly said 26 patients had gone to the Canberra Hospital during the outbreak and 111 to Calvary. One day during the outbreak was the Canberra Hospital emergency department's second busiest day in history.

36 comments

  • Okay then, what was their biggest day in history? I've been here nearly 64 years - can't think of anything bigger than that.

    Commenter
    Saddington
    Location
    Canbera
    Date and time
    June 21, 2013, 9:10AM
    • probably the day of the fires

      Commenter
      mm
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 8:07PM
    • @Saddlington Hey - I'm just a Victoria, what would I know... but wouldn't the Canberra bushfires be a likely contender for their busiest day?
      @David - I keep a flock of 8 chooks myself. I understood that washing the eggs was actually more dangerous - that water destroyed the natural waterproof barrier eggs have. I find a paper towell the best to clean them up.
      @T As a runny-yolk poached egg fan I'd love to know about the runny yolk situation too, but it probably won't change my habits. three for lunch today!

      Commenter
      Luke
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 22, 2013, 5:23PM
  • Blah, I consume raw eggs on a very regular basis and have done for the past 20 years and have never once been sick. I do make sure I eat fresh eggs though, should be focusing on freshness from suppliers here as well as the restaurants turnover of food and how long they store items such as this in their fridge.....

    Commenter
    Johnny
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    June 21, 2013, 9:34AM
    • You may be lucky but wait until you get a bad batch.. not sure it'll be worth the risk then. This is restaurants gambling with people's health as well.. maybe we should start putting signs outside stating that 'this restaurant uses raw eggs'

      Commenter
      Maggie
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 10:17AM
    • Your eggs may be fresh, but that doesn't mean they can't have salmonella bacteria. That comes from the chicken, if it is infected or other birds around it. So you are relying on the egg producers to ensure all their chickens are healthy.

      Commenter
      jwbam
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 1:44PM
    • The main problem is with chook poo stuck on the outside of the egg shell. The danger is greater when you crack lots of eggs. After a few your hands have a bit of moisture on them, you then pick up an egg with poo on it and start spreading the contamination. Frequently eggs have not been properly cleaned before packing. I have found the problem worse with free range eggs and have wondered if they leave a bit of poo on to prove that they are free range. Washing the eggs in a weak household chlorine bleach solution (about 5ml per litre) also reduces the risk.

      Commenter
      David
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 1:50PM
    • @David: That's a terrible idea! Chicken eggs have a protective layer around them (the "bloom") that prevents nasty things from getting into the edible part via the porous shell. Washing it off is actually the worst thing you can do. The onus should be on the farmer to ensure their hens are healthy anyway :)

      Commenter
      Egg baby
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 5:15PM
    • So your sample size of n=1 came up with no significant results. How predictable.

      Commenter
      Ed
      Date and time
      June 22, 2013, 9:59AM
  • This is so silly.. just get rid of any raw eggs, it's not worth people getting sick or your restaurant getting a bad reputation.. i'm sure an alternative to raw eggs is better than risking harm to other!

    Commenter
    April
    Date and time
    June 21, 2013, 9:35AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    Featured advertisers

    Special offers

    Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo