The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that eggs tainted with salmonella have been linked to illnesses in Colorado, California and Minnesota. State health officials say the eggs have sickened at least 266 people in California and seven in Minnesota.
The outbreak has been tracked back to Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa. The company has begun a voluntary recall of 228 million eggs–equivalent to 19-million dozen eggs! Many of the affected eggs are widely-carried supermarket brands.
The affected cartons come in varying sizes and carry plant numbers P1026, P1413 and P1946, followed by a date code ranging from 136 to 225. The stamps with the date codes and plant numbers can be found on the end of the egg carton, and the eggs may be sold under any of the following brand names:
Country Eggs, Inc.
Glenview Farms (US Foodservice brand)
Lucerne (Safeway Brand)
Lund (Lund Egg Co. of Woodville, WI)
Next: Salmonella symptoms and 11 precautions you should take
The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.
According to the CDC, consumers should take these precautions to avoid contracting salmonella:
1. Don’t eat recalled eggs or products containing recalled eggs. Recalled eggs might still be in grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers’ homes.
2. Consumers who have recalled eggs should discard them or return them to their retailer for a refund.
3. Individuals who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health care providers.
4. Keep eggs refrigerated at ≤ 45° F (≤7° C) at all times.
5. Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
6. Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
7. Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
8. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
9. Refrigerate unused or leftover egg- containing foods promptly.
10. Avoid eating raw eggs.
11. Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that calls for raw eggs.
And to add my personal recommendation: If you eat eggs, opt for ones not produced by a factory farm. Not only are factory farms cruel and inhumane, but they create unsafe food. One study showed that 23.4 per cent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella compared to 4.4 per cent in organic flocks and 6.5 per cent in free-range flocks.
To help make sense of what the labels on egg cartons mean–like what’s the difference between “cage-free” and “free-roaming”–see Easy Greening: Organic Eggs.