Activity of the Ministries of Agriculture and of Health on the background of the identification of a new subspecies of Salmonella in Israel ​

On the background of the identification of a new subspecies of Salmonella in Israel (enteritidis A), the Ministries of Agriculture and of Health are broadening their efforts to locate Salmonella bacteria in poultry in Israel and to destroy it.
In this framework, the entire poultry and egg manufacturing and distribution system in Israel will be checked, with the objective of identifying any possible sources of contamination of animal source foods. If any concrete source of contamination is found, the Ministry will take immediate actions to destroy it. At present, there is no need to avoid the consumption of any cooked food.
Nevertheless, the following rules should be observed:
  • It is important to fully cook poultry, minced beef and eggs. (Full cooking eradicates bacteria.)
  • Prohibition of eating/drinking food that contains uncooked eggs or milk that is not pasteurized.
  • It is recommended to store eggs in the refrigerator, and to consume them immediately after preparation.
  • It is important to wash hands, working surfaces and utensils that come into contact with uncooked meat of any type with soap and water.
  • It is extremely important to prepare meat on a separate surface and to use separate utensils for other foods. (For example: do not cut meat and vegetables on the same surface and do not use the same utensils.)
  • Be punctilious with all the above rules, especially when the food is for infants, the elderly or persons with an impaired immune system.
  • Do not work with uncooked meat and in parallel deal with infants (e.g. feed them or change their diapers).
The Director of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nadav Galon: “Salmonella is a very common bacteria, present in the environment and in a broad range of foods. Nevertheless, we have decided to deepen and broaden surveillance, in order to make sure that as few Salmonella bacteria as possible reach the consumer via eggs or poultry. It is important to emphasize that the cooking of animal source products destroys Salmonella bacteria, and the guidelines of the Ministry of Health in this regard should continue to be followed, both in the consumption of products and in their mode of handling. Because there is a suspicion of heightened risk with eggs sold door-to-door or in cars, make sure to purchase eggs in supermarket chains, shops and grocery stores.”
The Head of Public Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Prof. Itamar Grotto: Every year during this period we see an increase in Salmonella morbidity. On this occasion, a species of Salmonella not hitherto identified in Israel is involved, and it causes a relatively high extent of morbidity. In parallel with laboratory testing, epidemiological investigation is being performed to identify a possible common source; no source has yet been identified. It is important to act in accordance with the guidelines detailed above.”