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Consumption of Contaminated Eggs: A Public Health Concern

Saif N. Al-Bahry, Ibrahim Younis Mahmoud, Salma K. Al-Musharafi, James Rolf Paulson


The presence of pathogenic bacteria and fungi in food and the contamination of food with heavy metals and organic pollutants have become major global public health issues and economic concerns.  Although eggs are often thought of as perfect, naturally packaged sources of nutrition, the eggs of chickens, other fowl, and sea turtles are in fact among the most commonly contaminated foods worldwide.  The egg cuticle and eggshell are generally ineffective in preventing the entry of microbes and some chemicals. As a result of the overuse of antibiotics, pathogenic microorganisms that invade eggs are often found to be resistant to antimicrobial drugs.  In addition, due to heavy usage in agriculture and various industries, synthetic organic chemicals and heavy metals enter the environment and can find their way into food chains and eventually contaminate eggs.  In an effort to minimize these various types of contamination, regulations have been established to control the egg industry.  However, in some regions of the world enforcement is lax and compliance is poor.  The aim of this paper is to raise awareness of the need for rigorous enforcement of the rules, greater industry compliance with standards, increased monitoring, and further research on the public health issues.


Eggs; contamination; microbes; organic pollutants; heavy metals; antibiotic resistance

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/mra.v2i4.366


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