'Don't lick spoon' when cooking or baking with duck eggs warns HPSC as children fall ill with salmonella


The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre today (Tuesday) warned parents not to let children lick the spoon used in baking or cooking with duck eggs as an investigation continues into a salmonella outbreak.

So far in 2010, seven cases of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 have been identified by HPSC and the National Salmonella Reference Laboratory, and have been linked to duck eggs by a public health investigation. At least three have occurred in children who licked the spoon used by their parents in food preparation, says HPSC specialist in public health medicine, Dr Paul McKeown.

"Many children love to lick the cake or food mixture from the spoon during baking and unfortunately in this outbreak it has probably resulted in some falling ill. As yet, the precise location and extent of the problem is not sufficiently clear for us to offer guidance on food distribution or recall so the only way to stay safe is by thoroughly cooking all duck eggs and by preventing cross-contamination between any raw egg and ready-to-eat foods. People should also wash their hands, any preparation surfaces and cooking utensils after handling or using duck eggs.

"The symptoms of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 infection can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. Occasionally, the illness can be severe, especially in children and the elderly. Anyone who may have these symptoms after recently eating duck eggs or products made with duck eggs, should contact their doctor for advice.

"The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing. HPSC is continuing to work closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and public health colleagues to control this outbreak and to prevent further cases," said Dr McKeown.