Fears over salmonella

A STUDY, requested by the European Commission and carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has revealed that eggs contaminated with salmonella may be being sold in Portugal. The Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica (ASAE), the Portuguese authority responsible for food safety and economic activities, has agreed with the results of the study.

According to the study completed in 2005 in every EU country, Portugal has the highest cases of contaminated eggs in Europe, which has placed the Minister of Agriculture, Jaime Silva, under attack.

Manuel Lage, a communications advisor for the ASAE, wanted to make clear that the ASAE had no part in the study and that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture to clarify both the report and its findings. “All Jaime Silva had to offer was that, technicians are studying the report,” he said.

Results of the study showed that, in Portugal, 79.5 per cent of the tests carried out to detect salmonella in eggs were positive. However, what was more worrying, was that salmonella was found, not only in chickens, but in other birds as well.

The director of the ASAE, Barreto Dias, stated: “There is a high risk of the consumer buying contaminated eggs. People need to be careful and cook the eggs at a high temperature for at least a minute-and-a-half.”

Twenty-five EU member States were involved in the study. The UK had the third lowest contamination percentage, and has suggested the possibility of prohibiting the import of eggs from other EU countries until more studies are carried out.