Be cautious when purchasing eggs, warn UAE doctors


There are at least 104 hospitals throughout the country, indicating that around 312 people could be having food poisoning symptoms everyday.

Doctors in the Capital are warning people to be cautious when shopping for meat, poultry and eggs. The warning comes after authorities announced that there are more than 800 cases of food poisoning reported in Dubai this year. 

Doctors told Khaleej Times that a majority of hospitals across the country would receive a minimum of three patients with food poisoning symptoms per day.

According to the US-UAE Business Council, there are at least 104 hospitals throughout the country, indicating that around 312 people could be having food poisoning symptoms everyday. 

Dr Maria Siddique Panhwar, general practitioner, Bareen International Hospital, said the hospital has been receiving at least 20 food poisoning cases each day. “We have been receiving many cases now, especially during the summer season. Eggs, especially cracked eggs, are a big culprit in spreading food poisoning,” she added.

“There has been an increase in numbers of food poisoning cases caused by salmonella and authorities have taken measures to control the virus, including shutting down 180 restaurants.”

She pointed out that it is not just consumers who must be cautious, but restaurants, cafeterias and grocery stores must also put the health and safety of the community first.

“If salmonella is not controlled, it can lead to dehydration. The virus even leads to death in third world countries,” she warned. 

Dr Panhwar said people should take their grocery shopping seriously, and be wise when it comes to choosing eggs, meat and poultry. She added that other cases of food poisoning that she has seen a rise in this year were often caused by takeaway meals, deliveries or frozen food.

Dr Hassan Siegfried Abou-Rebyeh, gastroenterology consultant, also said food poisoning cases are rising. “It is a very frequent condition. We are seeing it on a daily basis.”

“In most cases, when patients are coming to the hospitals, the virus or bacteria is already left and only the symptoms remain. It’s a hit and run mechanism. So in many cases, the virus has already gone when we do the testing.”

Dr Abou-Rebyeh pointed out that he sees at least three food poisoning patients a day. “It is usually a question on how hygienic the meat is when it is transported, stored and cooked. Salmonella is especially common, even in the UK – with one in every three chickens infected.” He added that salmonella increases in number the longer the products are left in the fridge or outside, which is another reason why storage time is crucial.

“Beware of cracked eggs, as the salmonella can go inside the egg,” he advised.

He said other types of common viruses causing food poisoning in Abu Dhabi are norovirus and rotavirus. “Every type of virus and bacteria becomes more likely to occur if the temperature is higher, which is why takeaway food is more likely to cause food poisoning than home cooked food.”

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