Seven sick in UK from Salmonella in liquid egg whites

Authorities in the United Kingdom and Ireland are investigating Salmonella illnesses linked to a brand of liquid egg whites.

Seven confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported in the UK and one suspected infection is under investigation in Ireland. One batch of Dr. Zakâ??s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White 970 ml from France with raw material from Spain was recalled on Sept. 17 followed by other batches on Sept. 21.

Salmonella was found in two batches — the first with the use-by date Dec. 12, 2018, and lot number 18163BN2A, the second with a use-by date of Dec. 29, 2018, and lot number 18180BN2A. A precautionary recall was made for batches with a use-by date of Dec. 29, 2018, and lot number 18180BN2B and use-by date of Feb. 2, 2019, with lot number 18228BN2A.

A high count of Enterobacteriaceae at 9,500 most-probable-number per gram and high aerobic plate count with 6,700 colony forming units per gram were also found in the product.

Public Health England told Food Safety News that it is investigating the outbreak of Salmonella affecting people who consumed the nationally distributed liquid egg white product that was recalled by the Food Standards Agency.

Illnesses have been reported in different parts of England since Aug. 17, with the most recent case having an onset date of Sept. 3. Cases linked to the outbreak strain have been confirmed through whole genome sequencing.

Three cases have reported consumption of Dr. Zakâ??s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White while four infections are still under investigation.

â??Most of those affected have now recovered. However, Salmonella can cause a serious infection in those with weakened immune systems or in vulnerable groups including babies, the elderly or pregnant women,” said Dr. Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE.

â??Anyone who has purchased this product is encouraged to check the recall notices issued by the Food Standards Agency. Weâ??re aware that the affected batches could have a use-by date up to February 2019.

â??If youâ??re storing the product from the recalled batches at home, do not consume the product, but return it to the store where purchased for a full refund, as advised by the FSA and manufacturer. Weâ??re aware that the high protein product may be purchased by people for bodybuilding purposes.â??

A spokeswoman for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the agency was made aware by the FSA in the UK as there was distribution of an implicated batch to Ireland.

â??We are not aware of an outbreak in Ireland linked to the consumption of the Dr. Zakâ??s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg. There is one suspected case in Ireland that we are investigating,â?? the spokeswoman said.

Following the recall, British Lion eggs called for the EU to raise egg processing safety standards across Europe. Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion egg processors, said the gap in safety standards between British Lion egg products and non-UK produced egg products is clear.

â??It is time to put in place more stringent egg safety standards. If manufacturers and retailers do not want to act on government advice and recognize the additional food safety standards of the Lion, then the British government should use Brexit as an opportunity to prevent the import of egg products produced to lower food safety standards,â?? he said.

Food safety expert, Dr. Lisa Ackerley, said: â??Pasteurization alone has been shown not to give the assurance we all need; the raw product needs to be of a high standard as well, and thatâ??s why British Lion egg products stand apart.â??

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)