Singapore—Malaysia is no hurry to resume exporting eggs to Singapore, Bernama reported on Saturday (Apr 3) quoting the Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
In March, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) detected the presence of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) bacteria in eggs imported from two layer farms in Malaysia.
Eggs containing the bacteria if undercooked or eaten raw may result in food-borne illness.
But despite the farms getting cleared of SE, Malaysia will not rush to export eggs to Singapore.
On Mar 12, the SFA announced that it had found the bacteria in eggs from Lay Hong Berhad Layer Farm Jeram, prompting a recall of eggs from a number of importers.
The SFA said in a media release, “The farm is also suspended and SFA will lift the suspension only when the farm has rectified the SE contamination issue.”
A week later, on Mar 19, the SFA ordered a recall from another Malaysian farm, Linggi Agriculture, after the bacteria had also been detected in their eggs.
The Malaysian Minister underlined the importance of the eggs getting cleared of the bacteria before they Can Be Exported.
He told the media, “We will liaise with Singapore (for further action) and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).”
On Mar 22, the DVS cleared Lay Hong Berhad Layer Farms of the bacteria after comprehensive tests had been carried out.
On Apr 2 (Friday), the DVS announced that no SE bacteria was found at Linggi Agriculture farm after tests were performed on samples of cloaca smears, faecal smears, egg samples, food and water taken from the farm.
Poor farming practices, particularly in terms of hygiene, biosecurity, and the could unhygienic handling of eggs along the marketing chain may lead to SE contamination.
But eggs that may have SE contamination are safe for consumption if they are cooked thoroughly.
“As SE can be destroyed by heat, eggs are safe to consume if they are cooked thoroughly,” said the SFA last month.
But if eggs are undercooked (with the egg and yolk still not solid) the bacteria may survive and may cause vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, fever or diarrhoea.
And while an infection should not affect a healthy adult for more than a few days, it could prove to be a serious health threat to very young children, older people, or those with weakened immune systems.
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