Early this week, lab tests confirmed a strain of salmonella enteritidis in eggs sold by Wright County Egg in Iowa. As of Friday, a total of a half-billion eggs had been recalled in a nationwide campaign to rid food service companies and grocery stores of the tainted food.
The most recent farm involved is Iowa Hillandale Farms, whose eggs were recalled in response to more than 1,000 people being sickened from their eggs so far. Over 2,000 people have fallen ill from the Wright County Eggs. Both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms have been under investigation in the past for violation of environmental and animal cruelty laws.
What Companies and States Have Been Affected?
The recalled eggs were distributed in a total of 22 states in the West and Midwest. Unfortunately, it is estimated that the vast majority have already been consumed. For a list of affected states, brand names of the affected eggs and plant numbers, visit the FDA’s recall website. If you have any of these shell eggs in your home, either discard them immediately or return them to your local store for a full refund.
What Are the Symptoms of Salmonella Enteritidis?
Salmonella is a bacterium that affects the intestinal tract. Signs and symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and abdominal cramps. These symptoms can occur anywhere between 12 to 72 hours after consuming the contaminated food. It is especially important to note that the salmonella can be on the outside of the egg as well as the inside. Consuming raw or undercooked eggs heightens the risk of infection. Be sure to carefully guard your pets and children around these eggs.
How Can I Make Sure My Eggs are Safe?
On Thursday night, I was joking with someone that my eggs were safe. They were bought at a Target in North Dakota, which had not been affected by the recall. On the local news Friday night, I heard someone in North Dakota had fallen ill from salmonella and that the most recent recall applied to eggs in our area. It seems that no one is immune to the outbreak of these bacteria in our food.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to protect ourselves and make better choices about where we buy our food, especially our eggs. Shopping from local farms or buying home grown eggs can help minimize diseases that come about from overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions in hen houses.
There are many health benefits to free-range eggs, both for the hens and for the consumer. Free-ranging chickens who can roam outdoors at will are healthier and safer than those who are cloistered in crowded and sometimes disease-infested cages. Buying eggs from friends or family who raise their own chickens on a farm can eliminate the risk of infection from food-borne illnesses.
In case you were wondering, I checked my eggs after watching the news. They were sold under the brand name of a farm in Minnesota, which at this point has raised no concerns about the quality of their eggs. What a relief! Now, this weekend I can get back to buying my eggs from the Hutterites at my local farmer’s market.