A quantitative model was constructed to estimate the probability that a serving of food containing eggs produced on the island of Ireland is contaminated with Salmonella spp. The model is based on the prevalence of contaminated eggs at the time of lay and a set of parameters which describe the pooling of eggs in the home and in catering situations. Both external and internal contamination of the eggs by Salmonella spp. was considered. The model estimates that there is a 90% chance that the probability of a serving of food being contaminated is between 0.0043% and 0.038%. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that egg prevalence drives this low probability and that, at the current level of egg prevalence at the time of lay, pooling of eggs has a minor effect. These results indicate the importance of maintaining the low prevalence of contaminated eggs at the time of lay to minimise the risk of human cases of salmonellosis from consumption of eggs.
- quantitative exposure assessment
- medical research