(SPOT.ph) At first, it was just onions. Now, fresh eggs—a usually cheap, nutritious source of protein and a staple in every Filipino household—are also having a price increase due to bird flu. To combat it, consumers are purchasing cracked or frozen eggs, a cheaper alternative available in some public markets.
Frozen eggs—or eggs taken out of their shells, placed in a plastic bag, then kept in the freezer—are being sold at P55 per kilogram at Mega Q Mart, according to GMA News. It's cheaper compared to fresh eggs, which are sold at P8 to P9 per piece, based on the Department of Agriculture's January 30 price monitoring.
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The Department of Health warned the public against purchasing frozen eggs to ensure food safety and avoid the possibility of food poisoning.
"Frozen eggs can be a source of contamination and eventually cause food poisoning since raw foods are suitable for the growth of Salmonella bacterium and Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli)," the Department of Health (DOH) said in a statement.
"These bacteria are known to cause infection, diarrhea (which can be severe and bloody), stomach pains, fever, nausea, and vomiting."
On consuming cracked, frozen eggs
Where did these frozen eggs come from? It's possible that these are from cracked eggs that sellers may have placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer, said Arlene Vytiaco, assistant director of the Bureau of Animal Industry.
"Based po dito sa PNS (Philippine National Standard) for table egg, ang cracked egg ay hindi fit for human consumption kasi ang basis po natin nito is puwedeng sa surface ng shell, puwedeng may bacteria na puwedeng pumasok sa loob if the shells are cracked," she told GMA News.
"Ang tawag namin sa Batangas d'yan ay 'loret.' Mayroong sobrang basag na hindi na puwedeng ibenta na nakalagay sa tray kaya ang ginagawa ng ibang poultry farmers ay binabasag nila tapos inilalagay sa plastic tapos nakalagay sa timba," said Philippine Egg Board Association president Irwin Ambal in another GMA News interview.
"May gumagamit niyan na bakeshop pero dini-discourage namin 'yan dahil hindi 'yan naaayon sa standards," said Ambal.
Tips on buying, consuming eggs
DOH urged the public to inspect the eggs before buying them. Check first if the eggs:
- Are clean
- Have no visible cracks
- Have no drooping egg whites
- Have no foul or awful smell
Also, ensure that the eggs are thoroughly cooked before serving, the health agency said.