Salmonella prevention plan for Qld eggs
In 2018 and 2019, Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) was detected on several farms in NSW and one in Victoria. The specific strain of SE isolated during investigations was found to be a rare strain not commonly found in Australia and has been associated with over 230 confirmed cases of foodborne illness since May 2018.
Following the detection of SE in NSW, Safe Food Production Queensland (Safe Food) conducted a survey of accredited egg businesses in Queensland to determine what biosecurity and hygiene provisions were in place to prevent the spread of this organism.
Results indicated that while accreditation holders have a high standard of compliance for tracing eggs through the supply chain, and managing cracked and dirty eggs, greater emphasis is required to address specific risks associated with SE.
The Queensland egg industry has moved quickly to further strengthen its biosecurity, hygiene and product quality processes to minimise any risk of SE from occurring in that sunshine state.
Safe Food has partnered with the Queensland egg industry to develop a new Salmonella Enteritidis Prevention Plan (SEPP).
The SEPP will soon be in place; it is designed to improve hygiene and biosecurity controls on-farm and within egg grading and handling environments, to protect against Salmonella Enteritidis and ensure long-term sustainability of the industry.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said: “Obviously we want to avoid anybody falling ill in Queensland and I am very pleased to see the industry working closely with Safe Food Production Queensland and Biosecurity Queensland to safeguard consumers.”
The Director of Egg Farmers of Australia and CEO of Queensland United Egg Producers, John Coward, said the SEPP had been an industry-led initiative.
“The Australian egg industry has already witnessed the dramatic effects of SE, with infected farms in NSW and Victoria placed under strict quarantine orders and infected flocks destroyed,” Coward said.
“Queensland has been quick to respond, developing a set of new standard operating procedures for all egg businesses to follow to enhance biosecurity and ensure long-term sustainability of our industry.”
The CEO of Egg Farmers of Australia, Melinda Hashimoto, said that the SEPP would strengthen the Queensland egg industry through cross-agency collaboration and would set the foundation for a national approach.
Starting in the New Year, Safe Food will be checking compliance by egg producers to ensure everybody is following these new standard operating procedures.
Safe Food has contacted all accredited egg businesses about the SEPP.
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