By Katherine Solem
Update (August 24, 2010): Almost 1,300 people have been sickened with Salmonella from eggs affected by the recent recall of almost 550 million eggs from two Iowa farms, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal food safety regulators don't expect any further recalls after a series of three recalls in one week pulled eggs off shelves in 17 states.
Update (August 23, 2010): Two additional egg recalls have been announced in the past week due to Salmonella contamination, expanding the total number of recalled eggs to almost 550 million. On Friday, August 20, one of the nation's largest egg producers, Hillandale Farms, of Iowa, announced a recall of 170 million eggs in 14 states.
This follows an expanded recall of 150 million eggs by Wright County Eggs, also of Iowa, on Wednesday, August 18. Wright County Eggs announced the initial recall of 228 million eggs on Friday, August 13, after testing by FDA investigators showed possible Salmonella contamination.
Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of cases of Salmonella poisoning dating back to May 2010 can be tied to infected eggs. The New York Times reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had seen a four-fold increase in Salmonella cases in June and July.
Eggs from Hillandale Farms were distributed to 14 states — Arkansas, California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin — and were sold under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow in 6-egg cartons, dozen-egg cartons, 18-egg cartons, 30-egg package, and 5-dozen cases. Loose eggs were packaged under the brand names Werst Creek and Wholesome Farms in 15- and 30-dozen tray packs.
Hillandale Farms eggs affected by the recall have the following plant numbers and Julian dates: P1860 (for plant 1860) with Julian dates ranging from 099 to 230, and P1663 with Julian dates ranging from 137 to 230.
In addition, some eggs that were involved in the first two recalls by Wright County Eggs were packaged and sold under the Hillandale Farms label.
Wright County Eggs were distributed nationwide and sold under the brand names Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.
The recalls were prompted by a spike in Salmonella cases that investigators have traced back to contaminated eggs. Federal investigators are looking into any possible connection between the two farms that might link the outbreaks.
Original post (August 17, 2010):
Wright County Eggs of Galt, Iowa, has voluntarily recalled eggs sold in grocery stores across the country due to possible Salmonella contamination. More than two dozen cases of Salmonella illness have been reported in various states.
The affected eggs are packaged and sold under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps in half-dozen, dozen, and 18-egg cartons.
Several cases of Salmonella poisoning have been linked to eggs involved in the recall, including seven cases in Minnesota as of Tuesday morning, August 17. Eight confirmed and 20 suspected cases of Salmonella contamination have also been reported in Colorado with the source being traced back to eggs used in various foods, including cakes.
Cartons involved in the egg recall will be stamped with plants numbers P-1026, P-1413 or P-1946 and will be followed by Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton, for example: P-1946 223. (See an example of plant and Julian date stamping.)
The recall was prompted by a review of the on-farm records and testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that showed potential contamination with the Salmonella bacteria in some of the eggs. The recall was issued on August 13, 2010.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in arterial infections, endocarditis or arthritis.
Consumers who believe they bought recalled eggs should not eat them but should return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.
For more on the FDA egg recall see:
Brands affected by the egg recall include:
Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco.
Posted on: August 17, 2010
Last updated on: August 24, 2010