A qualitative exposure assessment for Salmonella in eggs produced on the island of Ireland was developed. The assessment was divided into three main modules (production and packing, distribution and storage, and preparation and consumption), and each of these stages into defined steps in the exposure pathway. In the production and packing stage the initial prevalences of Salmonella in the contents and on the shell of eggs were estimated to be negligible and low respectively. Numbers of Salmonella both in and on eggs were estimated to be low. At each subsequent step in the pathway, qualitative assessments were made of the impact of events on the probability and level of Salmonella contamination on the shells and in the contents of eggs. At the end of each module assessments were combined to give an overall probability and level of Salmonella contamination. In the first two modules the assessment focused on the effect of the duration and temperature of storage on yolk membrane integrity and the likelihood of shell penetration. During the final stage the influence of factors such as safe handling procedures, pooling practices, consumption patterns and the effectiveness of cooking, on the prevalence and level of Salmonella contamination in a food item at time of consumption was assessed. The outcome of this assessment was an estimate of a low probability and level of Salmonella contamination of egg containing foods, prepared with eggs produced on the island of Ireland.
- exposure assessment
- medical research