Warm summer weather, barbecues and people forgetting to follow food hygiene rules help to account for the increase, which may be one of the highest totals recorded. The number of Britons who fell ill with the bacteria between January and 30 June was 10,212. The strain usually associated with infected fresh eggs, Salmonella enteriditis phage type 4, accounted for 5,479 of them.
Details of a selection of outbreaks, released by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS), list 'suspected vehicles' as poached eggs, chicken mayonnaise, salmon mousse, tiramisu and peach flan, all made with fresh eggs, as well as beef, chicken, turkey and sausage rolls, and person to person contact.
This year, food poisoning information has been collected differently. A spokeswoman for the laboratory service said accurate comparisons with previous years were impossible. However, the latest six-monthly figures released by the service surpass the previous highest figure, 9,430 in the first half of 1990, which became a record year with 30,212 recorded cases of all types of salmonella.
The Department of Health warned barbecue enthusiasts to ensure food was not raw on the inside and again advised people against eating raw eggs.