Food safety is always of the upmost priority in the hospitality trade, however something as simple as an unsafe egg anywhere in a food preparation area can put an entire business at risk.
A single egg with Salmonella can contaminate work surfaces as far away as 40cm, leaving bacteria that persist for 24 hours. Australia has the highest incident rate of Salmonella outbreaks in the developed world and most of those occurrences arise from the mishandling of eggs within the supply chain.
Commercial kitchens who work with or use egg products are at financial and reputational risk, with restaurateurs, caterers and food service suppliers, potentially exposing customers, aged care residents, hospital patients and tourists to the risks of preventable food poisoning.
Alasya Restaurant and Takeaway was recently fined $80,000 after 135 diners suffered mass Salmonella poisoning and Sylvania Bakery was fined $122,000 after 200 people became ill due to Salmonella.
New research by Australian Pasteurised Eggs (APE) found eight in ten (83%) people will not visit a restaurant that has been fined for food poisoning, whether or not they had ever dined there themselves. For less than 20c. per plate, businesses can protect themselves from both reputational damage and substantial fines by moving to pasteurised shell eggs.
Whilst food-borne illness can affect anyone, the research found that one in three (33%) Australians are especially vulnerable to food-borne illnesses caused by pathogens such as Salmonella. Food safety and quality advocate, Gabrielle Thoreau tells us more about the risks, “People most susceptible are the elderly, pregnant women, diabetics, people with poor nutrition, kidney or liver disease and those currently undergoing cancer treatment.”
“Under current legislation, food businesses must cook with and serve pasteurised products. Until now, this has meant kitchens have had to use products such as liquid whole egg pulp, which sacrifice on flavour and culinary versatility,” says Thoreau.
However, newly available whole-egg, in-shell pasteurisation can now assure of safety against Salmonella in the egg supply chain, with raw or undercooked recipe versatility. Salmonella is only eradicated in the cooking process when eggs reach temperatures in excess of 63-76 degrees centigrade, so food service operators that choose to serve runny fried, poached or scrambled eggs are potentially putting their patrons as risk.
The technology used by Australian Pasteurised Eggs ensures eggs are free from risk of Salmonella by removing 99.999 percent of the bacteria. The pasteurised eggs extend shelf life to 90 days while also preserving the full flavour, texture and appearance.
Thoreau says, “Pasteurising an egg starts with freshly laid shell eggs from approved, certified and inspected farms. The process involves submerging eggs into moving water baths using precise time and temperature zones to pasteurise and kill the bacteria. They are then coated with food grade wax to further protect the outer shell.
“For a long time, eggs have been taken off the menu due to the risks or replaced with a substitute like liquid pulp. This new technology is a game changer for the hospitality industry as it allows people to enjoy runny eggs again, without the concern of becoming sick,” says Gabrielle Thoreau.
Seven out of ten foodborne illness outbreaks originate in food service operations, it is therefore especially important to trust your supply chain in preventing the transfer of contaminated eggs.
As Australia continues to experience outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis contaminated eggs, it has become increasingly important for those in the hospitality industry to take notice and make a change.