The Israeli health and agriculture ministries are calling on members of the public not to consume a record 11 million eggs on the market that have been tainted with a virulent strain of salmonella.
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The eggs were sold through a firm called Yesh Maof, government sources said. The two ministries are calling on the public not to consume any of the company’s eggs that are stamped for consumption up to and including October 20.
In an effort to avoid secondary infection, members of the public are being asked not to return any affected eggs to food retailers and to instead simply destroy them. Salmonella can be present on egg cartons, and the government is concerned that returning them to the distributor could simply encourage further spread of the bacteria.
The salmonella contamination – of the enteritidis strain – was discovered through routine Agriculture Ministry inspections conducted in recent months. It coincided with Health Ministry findings of an increase in the incidence of salmonella in the country.
The infected eggs apparently came from chicken coops at Moshav Goren in Western Galilee. It has been confirmed that one coop has definitely been affected, and two others in the vicinity are being checked.
The Agriculture Ministry has banned the sale of eggs produced in four coops there and plans to destroy the chickens as well.
The ministry has inspected about 60 percent of all egg farms in the country and found that about 3 percent of them were infected with salmonella enteritidis, which it said has a lower rate of contamination than is found in Europe and the United States.
Although the general approach of the Agriculture Ministry is that salmonella bacteria are destroyed by heat and therefore it recommends that all eggs be thoroughly cooked, in this case the Health Ministry has ordered the eggs be destroyed and has informed Agriculture Ministry staff there are no grounds for compromise.
The farmers whose chickens are to be destroyed will receive compensation from a special fund. It is not yet clear if and how consumers will be compensated.