Eggs are an essential part of our diet but also at the root of many food poisoning issues such as salmonellosis.
When salmonella makes contact with the food it can multiply rapidly. In favourable conditions it can replicate every 15 to 20 minutes.
Egg Day seeks to increase awareness of the importance of this food but also the food safety measures it deserves.
Egg Day is celebrated in 153 countries worldwide, with various events that stress the importance of eggs in our daily diet.
Eating one egg a day is compatible with a healthy balanced diet. But the high risk of catching the salmonella bacteria, and consequently salmonellosis if not controlled with proper hygiene and food safety measures. So proper care must be taken.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacterium that develops in animal and human intestines and is transmitted to the food. It can be ingested by people, causing an infection called salmonellosis which manifests itself in bouts of acute gastroenteritis. The main foodstuffs involved are meat, poultry and other animals for slaughter, milk and eggs. These foods may be contaminated at source and transmit the contamination to other foods. This initial contamination may not be sufficient to cause a Salmonella infection, but if no precautions are taken, the initial salmonella count can rapidly and dangerously increase the chance of infection.
According to Jose Juan Rodríguez, "When Salmonella reaches the food it can multiply at very high rates in any food in the right time and humidity conditions. Salmonella count can double every 15 or 20 minutes if the temperature is above 20 ºC”. Jose Juan is director of the Centre for Food Safety and Advisory Board member of the Silestone Institute for Health in the Kitchen (ISHC). That is why if left unrefrigerated microorganisms will multiply rapidly with the subsequent risk to consumers.
Salmonellosis has very high public health, social and financial impact and is of particular concern among risk groups such as the elderly, children and the ill. Its occurrence is higher in summer because high temperatures favour its development. It is at this time of year when we have to be most alert, although we must always take precautions to avoid it.
Silestone Institute helps prevent salmonellosis
To prevent Salmonella infection in the home we should avoid the main mode of contamination: cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when Salmonella is transmitted to another food by contact with a foodstuff, utensil or surface. For example, Salmonella contamination in raw chicken is passed, upon handling, to another food source that is not contaminated. The best way to prevent transmission, besides cooking food, is to follow proper hygiene habits in the kitchen.
The Silestone Institute for Hygiene in the Kitchen provides practical and easy tips to avoid any foodborne intoxication in the home:
Inspect the external appearance of the product by ensuring that the label specifies information on ingredients, storage conditions and expiry date.
Do not break the cold chain since bacteria multiply at room temperature.
Do not mix raw food with cooked food to avoid the possible transmission of microorganisms through cross-contamination.
Clean utensils and surfaces each time a different food is handled, and remember that your hands are a utensil like any other.
Cook food by for long periods at high temperatures (frying, baking, stewing, etc.) since it is the most effective method of ensuring the safety of foods.
Remember that there are cleaning products, countertops, refrigerators and even switches designed to enhance proper antibacterial hygiene in the kitchen.
Salmonella contamination figures are much higher than previously thought. Hiding this danger from consumers is pointless; rather quite the opposite. Consumers must be able to take preventive and protective measures to avoid any infection. Silestone Institute for Hygiene in the Kitchen seeks to foster proper hygiene habits to prevent infections such as salmonellosis.
The Silestone Institute for Hygiene in the Kitchen has been established to encourage these good habits among individuals and restaurant professionals. It is an independent body dedicated to the research and dissemination of hygiene in the kitchen and its influence on the health and welfare of people. The SIHK is a forum for exchanging views and expertise on the subject with citizens, institutions and kitchen professionals. Silestone Institute’s main areas of activity are promoting more hygienic kitchens, proper use of utensils and safe food handling.
“Proper hygiene habits are the basis for a safe kitchen".