Health ministry: Recycling egg cartons for arts and crafts forbidden due to fear of Salmonella

Dangerous Salmonella bacteria may stick to the cardboard of egg cartons, causing a serious danger to children and others with weak immune systems.

June 30, 2014 08:55
1 minute read.
Eggs at Machane Yehuda market

Eggs at market 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Recycling old egg cartons to make creative objects in elementary schools, kindergartens, nursery schools and daycare centers sounds like an admirable idea – but not to the Health Ministry, which worries the practice could spread disease.

Dangerous Salmonella bacteria may stick to the cardboard, causing a serious danger to children and others with weak immune systems.

According to public-health experts, chickens carry the bacteria in their bodies and pass it along to the yolks and egg whites while the egg is formed in the ovaries. Chickens can also pass bacteria through the shell pores into the inner egg when it is laid.

Chickens can carry Salmonella without being sick themselves.

The dangerous bacteria cannot be noticed on the eggs, and the conventional 12-egg containers can hold high risk of infection.

In young children and others with weak immune systems, the bacteria can cause severe illness or even death.

Food with uncooked or inadequately cooked eggs can spread illness. Any part of the egg can contain bacteria, and both whites and yolks have been implicated in food-borne illness, with the yolk is the most common source. Even if the eggs are washed, bacteria inside the egg are not eliminated, and the pathogens may remain on the cartons.

Due to these risks, the Education Ministry has followed through with the Health Ministry’s recommendation not to allow children in educational institutions to work with recycled egg cartons or to store objects in them.

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