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Is sunny-side-up a salmonellosis haven?

Is sunny-side-up a salmonellosis haven?

Anyone who has taken home economics knows that damaged goods are suspect, that a cracked shell means potential food poisoning from the Salmonella bacteria commonly found in chickens. But consumers assume that using inspected eggs will help protect against the gastrointestinal distress of salmonellosis. Now a new report lays another worry on the public -- by scratching from the menu sunny-side-up eggs and those juicy over-easies, even if the egg's shell was intact. Also out are the tremulous three-minute egg, the delicate Caesar salad dressing and the raw-egg-in-beer of lumbermen and boxers. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta said last week that they have found S. enteritidis inside uncracked, cleaned and inspected grade A eggs, and that thorough cooking may be necessary to eliminate risk of food poisoning in affected areas of the United States. Adequate cooking means boiling for seven minutes, poaching for five minutes or frying on each side for three minutes, say the scientists.

Alerted by a six-fold increase in reported S. enteritidis infections in the northeastern United States from 1976 to 1986, CDC scientists began looking for sources of infection. From January 1985 to May 1987, say the scientists, there were 65 foodborne outbreaks caused by a specific strain of S. enteritidis involving 2,119 cases and 11 deaths. In the April 8 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, the researchers report that grade A eggs or egg-containing products caused 77 percent of the 35 outbreaks for which a specific food source could be identified. The new study is the first to suggest that S. enteriditis may be passed from a hen's ovaries to her egg during the egg's development, rather than later transfer through cracks, say the authors. This transovarian explanation is "a very exciting hypothesis," says CDC's Robert V. Tauxe, adding that eventually chickens may have to be screened for the culprit bacterium and removed from egg production. He said in an interview that this strain of S. enteritidis may be more invasive than others and better able to enter the ovaries, or it may work its way through the egg's shell.
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Title Annotation:undercooked eggs may transmit disease
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 16, 1988
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