An “exotic” strain of salmonella has prompted a recall of some egg brands across four states and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of hens.
Five people aged in their 20s to 80s contracted salmonella enteritidis linked to eggs produced by Victoria’s Bridgewater Poultry, the state’s health department said.
A person also fell ill in Tasmania from the same strain in February, but has since recovered.
“It is like an exotic pest, it’s the cane toad of salmonella,” Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said about the strain.
“It is not a normal organism found in eggs in Victoria, indeed Australia.”
Symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and usually start six to 72 hours after consuming the contaminated food and can last up to a week.
The company’s cage-free and barn-laid eggs are packaged as Woolworths brand, Victorian Fresh, and Loddon Valley, with best-before dates ranging from March 20 to April 29.
They are on shelves in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia.
All other eggs are safe to eat, Dr Sutton said.
The health and human services department with Agriculture Victoria inspectors identified the strain at the property during a routine check at the farm on Monday. Quarantine measures have been imposed.
The Victorians cases are suspected to be linked to properties in NSW contaminated last year, with a national investigation underway to determine how they may be connected, Dr Sutton added.
Industry group Australian Eggs confirmed the nation has some of the world’s safest eggs and urged consumers to keep eating except for the at-risk products.
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