Recently, the Australian state of Tasmania was hit by an outbreak of salmonellosis. The outbreak, which affected more than 80 people, has been tentatively linked to sauces made from raw eggs sold by one producer - Pitt's Poultry.
In response to political pressure, the government of Tasmania has decided to require raw eggs to carry a warning label. But the only eggs to be affected by this new requirement will be those produced by Pitt's Poultry.
I have to admit that the logic of this ruling escapes me. It isn't news to anyone in the food safety profession that raw eggs - even those still in clean and intact shells - carry a risk of Salmonella contamination. This is true for eggs produced in North America, where USDA estimates the risk at one egg in 20,000. It's true in the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU. For more details on this problem, read Chapter 3 of my book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.
If one egg producer in Australia is experiencing this problem, others will surely follow. The only sensible thing to do – assuming that a warning label is warranted – is to require that ALL raw shell eggs carry the same warning. Anything else, in my opinion, is simply pandering to political pressure.
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