KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities are inspecting one of Lay Hong’s egg farms in Jeram, Selangor, to identify the source of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) bacteria.
This was after Singapore directed four importers to recall eggs from the farm due to the presence of the bacteria which could cause foodborne illness if the eggs are consumed raw or undercooked.
In a statement on Sunday (Mar 14), Malaysia’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) said it is looking into egg production processes, vaccination records and the farm’s disease surveillance programme to try and trace the source of the SE contamination.
“Eggs from the CE008 farm are not allowed to be sold (locally) as table eggs until the results of the investigation,” the agency said.
“DVS also conducted inspections and sampling for SE testing on all farms owned by Lay Hong Bhd to ensure that the company’s farm eggs are SE-free.”
According to the agency, Lay Hong owns 10 poultry farms, comprising two pullet farms and eight layer farms. Only one farm – CE008 – exports eggs to Singapore.
“The company has agreed to implement corrective measures and monitoring more frequently, as well as improve biosecurity controls,” said DVS.
In announcing the recall on Friday, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said it has suspended the farm until it rectifies the contamination issue.
“Our priority is the safety of our customers,” Lay Hong’s executive director Yap Chor How said.
He added that the company’s other farms are not affected, and that the farms are “divided into smaller satellite farms and separated from one another” to mitigate any cross-contamination.
EGGS SAFE TO CONSUME IF COOKED THOROUGHLY
The affected eggs have the farm code “CES008” stamped on their shells, said SFA.
“As SE can be destroyed by heat, eggs are safe to consume if they are cooked thoroughly,” it added.
SE can be present inside the egg, as well as on the eggshell.
The bacteria can survive in raw and undercooked eggs and may cause foodborne illness. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.
While SE infection typically subsides within a week in most people, it can cause serious infection in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems, said SFA.
To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should ensure that eggs are cooked thoroughly until the egg white and yolk are solid, and practise proper hygiene to prevent cross-contamination with other food.