Food regulators, health authorities and Chief Veterinary Officers in Australia are investigating a rare strain of Salmonella (Salmonella Enteritidis) associated with human illness and egg consumption.

Confirmed human cases linked to this strain have been found in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. Detections of this strain have also occurred on chicken farms in NSW, and one farm in Victoria.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is coordinating the response by food regulators under the National Food Incident Response Protocol.

The investigation has already resulted in a small number of food recalls coordinated by FSANZ, in March this year and in September last year. Biosecurity measures and other regulatory action are being applied to affected farms by the relevant authorities.

A total of 149 NSW residents have become unwell following an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis since first reported in May 2018. As a result of the ongoing joint investigation by NSW Health and NSW Food Authority into the outbreak, the following brands have been recalled:

  • Blue Mountains Free Range Eggs 700g (blue cardboard inner)
  • Blue Mountains Cage Free Eggs 700g (plain cardboard inner)
  • Fresh Eggs from My Farm 800g (plain cardboard inner)
  • Farm Fresh Eggs 600g 700g 800g (plain cardboard inner)
  • all individual eggs stamped with AF58 at the start of the code, sold in unmarked catering packs 10 to 15kg

The Best Before dates on the cartons and catering packs are 26 April 2019 or 3 May 2019.

Symptoms of salmonellosis are usually limited to mild gastroenteritis but may include fever, headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Patients usually recover within a week. But the illness can lead to systemic illness and other longer-term conditions.

Severe cases of diarrhea can lead to significant dehydration which may require hospitalization and medical intervention such as intravenous fluid replacement.

Although uncommon, long-term effects may occur include reactive arthritis.

This strain can be passed from person to person; however, this is more likely to occur in young children due to poor hand hygiene.