Clamp Down Coming on Egg Vendors

Tue, 03 Oct 2017

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA - Any vendor and/or farmer caught selling eggs that have not been stored at the right temperature will find themselves in trouble with public health officials.

According to The Daily Observer, that is the warning from the Chief Health Inspector, Lionel Michael, who told OBSERVER media that the eggs will be confiscated on the spot – and ultimately the vendors will lose money.

Mr Michael said, "We met with the egg association [Antigua & Barbuda Poultry Association] and we impressed upon them, explained to them, the importance of keeping eggs at seven degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit and lower because we are guarding against salmonella."

The chief said consumers also have a role to play in protecting themselves and they should not buy eggs if they are not stored on ice or refrigerated.

"The market people cannot walk with a fridge but they can walk with coolers, an old fridge and put the eggs on ice.

"People should not buy egg that are not on ice and we have been telling people this," he stressed.

Mr Michael said his department’s decision to start clamping down on these vendors “soon”, is to protect all parties.

"If they (vendors) make people sick and the food borne disease investigation leads to them they can be sued and their business can be wiped out by lawsuit and legal fees," the official elaborated.

Apart from cautioning vendors and consumers about storing eggs at the right temperature, he is also warning against selling and buying cracked eggs.

"That is most dangerous," he said of the practice. "And if we come across these people selling cracked eggs at the farm we will seize the eggs."

Mr Michael’s overall advice is that "you cannot hold eggs at room temperature because it’s a risk."

The President of the poultry association, Amryl Julian has responded to Michael’s cautions, saying she will take the issues up with her colleagues.

However, she added that as far as she’s aware, the "members have not been doing anything to harm the quality of the product and at large the public interest," but she hastened to add that she could only speak about the farmers and not vendors because "not every egg seller is the farmer."

With respect to vendors/farmers selling cracked eggs, Julian said the association is "always open to what the central board of health policies are" as she admitted people do sell cracked eggs.

Ms Julian also said she too is concerned about how some vendors are storing eggs "because eggs should not be stored in the sun." She said she has seen this being done but has not personally advised anyone to desist.