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Better to prepare dough for bread on a stick without eggs

13/2008, 21.07.2008

Then the camp fire fun won’t end up in a Salmonella infection

The dough for "bread on a stick" should be prepared without using eggs. "If raw eggs that contain Salmonella are used for the dough and the dough is not baked thoroughly, it can cause a Salmonella infection", says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). Particularly in summer families often eat bread on a stick during barbecues or scouts eat it around a camp fire. To ensure that this fun doesn’t end in unpleasant cases of diarrhoea, simple rules should be observed when preparing the dough and cooking it over a fire.

Baking bread on a stick on a camp fire is a popular pastime - not just for children during the summer season. The dough, usually yeast dough, is wound around the end of a stick and baked over the fire. Frequently, however, the outside is already blackened altough on the inside the dough is still uncooked. What’s more, children tend to lick the dough left on their fingers. When eggs containing Salmonella are used to make the dough, this can lead to infections. This is because the bacteria are only killed when the dough is heated through. The risk of a Salmonella infection can be avoided from the very outset by not using any raw eggs to make the dough.

Salmonella are bacteria which are to be found above all in raw poultry meat and in raw eggs. In the case of eggs they are present both on the shell and in the yolk. They multiply at temperatures between 7° and 45° Celsius and the higher the temperature, the more quickly this happens. At temperatures above 60° Celsius, they slowly begin to die. To kill any Salmonella present, the food must be sufficiently heated which means that the temperature in the centre of the dough must be 70° Celsius or higher for at least two minutes.

Salmonella infections are unpleasant illnesses which may involve symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, cramp and fever. As children under the age of five are particularly sensitive, the infections in their case and in the case of older and sick individuals, may take a more severe course and sometimes even prove fatal. Every year more than 50,000 cases of Salmonella infections are reported in Germany. However, the number of unreported cases is probably much higher. Besides the thorough cooking of meat and eggs, good kitchen hygiene is the best way of preventing infections with Salmonella and other pathogenic food germs.