17 MAR 2021 / 11:19 H
PETALING JAYA: Consumers will have to wait another 10 days before they know if it is safe to consume eggs sold in the market.
The Veterinary Services Department collected samples from eight poultry farms in Jeram, Selangor for tests in response to Singapore’s rejection of eggs from the farms.
Agriculture and Food Industries Deputy Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah told theSun that samples of the eggs are now at the department’s laboratory in Salak Tinggi.
“We can expect to see some results in seven to 10 days.”
The Singapore Food Agency announced last Friday that it had instructed importers to recall eggs from the Lay Hong Bhd layer farm in Jeram after detecting Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in the eggs.
Hamzah said the farm has also been directed to stop marketing the eggs pending results of the Veterinary Services Departme findings.
The test requires the contaminated eggs to be pasteurised, a process called “heat treatment”.
The Salmonella virus, if consumed, can cause diarrhoea, abdominal pains, fever, nausea and vomiting. However, according to public health expert Dr Hanafiah Bashirun, the eggs can be safe for human consumption if boiled or fried at 100°C.
He expressed surprise that the bacteria were found in the eggs.
“It is highly unlikely for Salmonella to appear inside an enclosed and intact shell.
Hamzah declined to say if the eggs that are still in the market would be recalled, pointing out that “it would be difficult” to tell the good ones from those that are contaminated.
However, he agreed with Hanafiah’s statement that it is safe to eat if it is thoroughly cooked.
The Malaysian Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Association, which represents more than 70,000 small businesses in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, urged the government to give traders a clear picture of the situation. Its president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman pointed out that selling eggs is highly profitable for the retailers.
He also advised traders to ascertain the source of the eggs before selling them.
“If it is from Jeram, it is best not to sell them as we do not know the effects if consumed. As for consumers, I would advise against buying them for now.”
The Consumers Association of Penang said the authorities should review how chickens are reared, which may have contributed to the contamination. Its president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the authorities should establish a monitoring system to ensure food safety.