| 21.03,19. 05:01 PM |
Check your eggs — these ones are being recalled over a possible salmonella contamination
Eggs included in recall:
•Woolworths 12 Cage Free Eggs 700g
•Victorian Fresh Barn Laid Eggs 600g
•Victorian Fresh Barn Laid Eggs 700g
•Victorian Fresh Barn Laid Eggs 800g
•Loddon Valley Barn Laid 600g
•Affected eggs have best before dates of March 20, March 23, March 27, March 30, April 3, April 6, April 10, April 14, April 17, April 20, April 24, April 27, April 29
Eggs from a Victorian farm which are sold at major supermarkets across much of Australia have been recalled and the farm quarantined over concerns about possible salmonella contamination.
Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services said it had identified five cases of illness linked to the salmonella enteritidis strain, which prompted the "very big recall".
"There'll be hundreds of thousands of eggs involved, hundreds of thousands of laying hens are involved," Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said.
Unlike other strains, where dirty shells contaminate the egg once cracked, the enteritidis strain infects the egg before the shell has formed, raising the risk of infection if the egg is not fully cooked.
Dr Sutton said it was a strain not normally found in Victoria and likened it to an exotic pest such as the cane toad.
Foods Standard Australia New Zealand has recalled eggs from Bridgewater Poultry, a farm at Bridgewater, north-west of Melbourne, where strict biosecurity measures have been put in place to protect neighbouring farms.
Dr Sutton said there could be links to an outbreak of the same strain of salmonella at a New South Wales property earlier in the year.
The affected eggs include those available at both Woolworths and a number of independent stores in the ACT, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania and at Coles in Victoria and South Australia.
They include Woolworths 12 Cage Free Eggs, some brands of Victorian Fresh Barn Laid Eggs and the 600 gram Loddon Valley Barn Laid Eggs.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms begin to appear between six and 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten and usually last for up to seven days.
"It's not an insignificant illness, it's not like normal gastro," Dr Sutton said.
Affected eggs should not be fed to pets or livestock
"We'd just like people to check and if they do have any of these eggs they should return them or throw them out to avoid any risk of food poisoning," Dr Sutton said.
"It is important to know that not all eggs are affected, but any eggs carrying the listed brands should return them to the point of sale for a full refund.
"Alternatively, they can be discarded by throwing them into the garbage, not the garden or compost.
"These eggs should not be given to pets or livestock."
Health authorities said it was still safe to continue eating other eggs, but they should always be cooked until the white is completely formed and the yolk begins to thicken.
Australians eat 17 million eggs a day.