FIVE staff at Great Western business Green Eggs have been stood down following a salmonella outbreak.
Green Eggs owner Alan Green said the staff worked on the business’s grading floor, which was shut down on Saturday.
The business has been linked with a salmonella outbreak.
“The director of the Department of Health said all the eggs had to be washed,” Mr Green said.
“We don’t have egg-washing facilities here.”
Green Eggs has released affected staff from their contracts to allow them to find work.
The grading floor could reopen in six to eight weeks when the business imports an egg washer.
“The egg industry in Australia is just not big enough to manufacture these machines,’’ Mr Green said.
“Then we have to be accredited as an egg grading and washing facility, which will allow us to process our eggs in-house again.”
Mr Green said the five affected staff would be welcome to return to work once the grading floor reopened.
The health scare has hit the business hard.
“It’s early days, but Monday’s trade dropped 50 per cent,” Mr Green said.
He anticipated further losses on Tuesday's trade.
“We should have been distributing 400 boxes of eggs in Melbourne,” he said.
“But we’ll only be delivering about 150 today, which is well below 50 per cent.”
Since the Great Western grading floor was closed, the business’s eggs have been washed, graded and packed at an accredited grading floor in Melbourne.
Green Eggs has never previously been linked to salmonella, since it was established in 1999. It supplies a range of restaurants, cafes and other eateries, farmers’ markets and several Victorian supermarkets.
Chief health officer Rosemary Lester said food and drinks containing raw and undercooked eggs, including mayonnaise, aioli, eggnog and tiramisu were associated with salmonella outbreaks in Victoria.
“These foods can be a risk, especially for the elderly and people with lowered immunity, children and pregnant women,’’ she said.
“Green Eggs are marketed in distinctive packaging, and people who have bought the product from their supermarket in recent weeks and still have eggs in their fridge should only use them for cooked dishes and foods.”
Dr Lester recommended people cook eggs until they were hot all the way through, which killed any bacteria.
“As a general food safety measure, people should check eggs are clean and have no visible cracks before they buy them,” she said.
“You should refrigerate your eggs at home, preferably in the original carton so you know the best-before date.
“If you find a dirty or cracked egg, throw it out.”
She said anyone who had questions or was concerned about their health could call the Department of Health Food Safety hotline on 1300 364 352.