The center for Disease Control and Prevention are working with health departments in several states to investigate a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people. No deaths have been reported as yet. Initially the recall was issued for 228 million eggs, roughly 19 million dozen egg cartons. On Wednesday the recall was dramatically expanded to approximately 23 million dozen egg cartons or 380 million individual eggs.
Egg Recall Numbers
The eggs were packed between May 16 and August 13. The Egg Safety Center says recalled eggs are in cartons with a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers P-1026, P-1413, and P-1946. The numbers are on one end of the egg carton.
Spikes and clusters of salmonella incidences have occurred across the country since June. California, Colorado, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin have all seen suspicious spikes in reported cases of Salmonella.
Minnesota is a state which boasts some of the best food borne illness investigators in the United States has reported 7 cases of egg related salmonella illnesses.
Salmonella is the most common form of bacterial food poisoning and the strain involved in this outbreak is the most common strain of salmonella, accounting for around 20 percent of all reported salmonella poisoning cases.
The Food and Drug Administration has also become involved in investigating this outbreak of salmonella. Much of the investigation has been centered in California, Colorado, Minnesota and North Carolina restaurants. These restaurants spread across the country are not necessarily breakfast food restaurants. Some cases have arisen from eating a salad dressing with raw egg in it, or soup with an undercooked egg, there was even a cluster of salmonella occurrences in April linked to meringue and banana pudding that were served in a barbecue restaurant say health officials.
Eggs originating from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa have been linked to illnesses in four states. These eggs have been distributed across the country and packaged under popular brand names such as Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s , Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp. There is no clear time frame for when the eggs were produced and distributed.
Wright County Egg officials issued a statement Wednesday evening saying “We are undertaking this additional recall to further protect the safety of consumers- this voluntary measure is consistent with our commitment to egg safety, and it is our responsibility.
Officials said the recall began on October 13th and that the FDA is on site at Wright County Egg to inspect barns and review records.
“This outbreak is a kind of foodborne illness perfect storm,” said food safety advocate and attorney Bill Marler. “The strain of Salmonella is one of the most common, the product is in almost every home, and was distributed to practically every state – so it has been extremely hard to isolate a source. Only top-notch work by health departments has made it possible to connect the dots and get these contaminated eggs off the market.”
The most common symptoms of salmonella poisoning are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever which usually occur between 8 and 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. People with weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly are most at risk of death from salmonella poisoning. More about salmonella
The form of salmonella that is occurring can be passed form chickens that appear to be healthy, and the bacterium grows inside the egg not just on the shell. While thoroughly cooking the eggs may kill the bacteria, health officials are recommending that people either throw away or return eggs that are included in the recall.