Nationwide recall: These eggs can make you sick!

Consumer Reports News: August 19, 2010 11:24 AM

Egg producer Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa is expanding its voluntary recall of specific Julian dates of shell eggs produced by their farms because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. An estimated 380 million eggs are affected. Hundreds of people have already been sickened in four states; no deaths have been reported.

The largest distributor of shell eggs in the Western U.S., NuCal Foods, also said it was recalling Wright County eggs packaged in five-dozen groupings.

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According to a report in today’s New York Times, Wright Country Egg’s owner Jack DeCoster has had a series of run-ins with government regulators over unsanitary and unsafe working conditions at the company’s farms, environmental violations, harassment of workers, and the hiring of illegal immigrants.

The recalled eggs are packaged in 6-, 12-, and 18-egg cartons, and sold as loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging. They are coded with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229 and plant numbers 1720 and 1942.

Eggs affected by the expanded recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies in California, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Those companies distribute nationwide.

Some of affected brands:

Bayview Boomsma's
Dutch Farms
Farm Fresh
Mountain Dairy
Sun Valley

Salmonella has a long been a problem with eggs. New government regulations that went into effect on July 9th are intended to reduce salmonella contamination and could prevent as many as 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths each year related to the consumption of tainted eggs. The bacteria often reside inside the shell of the egg and is transferred by egg-laying hens. Washing the outside of the egg has little or no effect on eradicating the bacteria. Thorough heating is required to kill the bacteria, which is why we’ve always advised (http://blogs.consumerreports.org/health/2009/10/raw-cookie-dough-poses-health-risks-salmonella-poisoning-avoid-food-poisoning.html) against eating foods like cookie dough that are made with raw eggs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following safety advice for consumers:

  • Don’t eat recalled eggs or products containing recalled eggs. Recalled eggs might still be in grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers' homes. Consumers who have recalled eggs should discard them or return them to their retailer for a refund. Individuals who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health-care providers.
  • Keep shell eggs refrigerated at ≤45˚ F (≤7˚ C) at all times. (But we think it’s best to refrigerate eggs at temperatures less than 40˚ F.)
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
  • Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
  • Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
  • 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.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and person with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.
For more information on egg safety, check www.eggsafety.org.

- Don Mays

Marc Perton


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