Egg safety on the agenda

Posted by Editorial on 11th November 2008

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Egg Group has been working closely with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) on their State-wide campaign to educate consumers and the food industry about egg care as part of National Food Safety Week.

President of the VFF Egg Group Brian Ahmed said over the past 12 months the group had been in consultation with the Departments to develop a leaflet that will give consumers, the food service industry and retailers a better understanding about how to handle eggs and egg products.

“We congratulate the State government for its Eggs Need TLC initiative which has the full support of the VFF,” he said. “Whilst Victorian egg producers have long been aware of their obligations in regard to egg quality, there have always been concerns about how eggs were handled post farm gate. These brochures will go some way towards addressing this issue.”

“The State Government’s education campaign has been developed to inform consumers and the food industry about the hazards that can be associated with raw and undercooked eggs.”

“Startling new research conducted by DHS into the egg buying, storage and cooking habits of 1,000 Victorians suggests that 76 per cent thought eggs were safe to eat raw (34 per cent) or lightly cooked (42 per cent),” Mr Ahmed reported. “Yet eggs are quite similar to other fresh produce such as chicken, meat and seafood – and should be handled accordingly.”

“Since 1997, Victorian producers have been complying with the Code of Practice for the Production, Grading, Transport and Distribution of Shell Eggs. Once the eggs leave the farm, however, producers have no control over how their eggs are handled.”

“The leaflets we’ve produced in consultation with DHS and DPI will be inserted into cartons and distributed through the food service industry to send a clear message to everyone explaining the simple steps required to enjoy eggs safely.”

“By ensuring eggs are handled safely in the home and within the food industry we can work towards reducing the number of food poisoning and contamination cases experienced across Victoria, which is certainly welcomed by the egg industry. The pamphlets have been tailored to suit each sector of the supply chain, from the farm gate through to the consumer, yet ultimately they carry the simple key message that Eggs Need TLC,” Mr Ahmed concluded.