August 18, 2010 – Health officials said Wednesday that hundreds of people have become ill in a salmonella outbreak that has resulted in an expanded recall of 380 million eggs, including Washington State.
Health officials dramatically expanded the recall that sickened people in four states and possibly more from 228 million eggs to 380 million.
According to Dr. Christopher Braden, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist involved in investigating the outbreak, this form of salmonella can be passed from chickens that appear healthy. And it grows inside eggs, not just on the shell.
While thoroughly cooking eggs can kill the bacteria, health officials are recommending people throw away or return the recalled eggs.
The illnesses are not all a result of people eating eggs – they can also include eggs that were eaten raw in salad dressings, or eating soup with an undercooked egg dropped in.
Brand names and codes
Eggs affected are packaged under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.
Eggs are packed in varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946.
Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1946 223.
The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours of eating the contaminated product.
It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.
The initial recall was issued last week.
Eggs affected by the expanded recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers and food service companies in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
“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,” Wright County Egg officials said in a statement Wednesday evening.
In an earlier statement, company officials said the FDA is “on-site to review records and inspect our barns.” The officials said they began the recall Aug. 13.
The CDC is working with state health departments to investigate the illnesses.
According to Dr. Braden, as of Wednesday no deaths have been reported.
Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, initially recalled the equivalent of 19 million dozen egg cartons. That number has increased to 32 million dozen.
At least seven salmonella illnesses in Minnesota State were tied to the recalled eggs.
Other states have seen a rise in salmonella-related illnesses since June and July, about four times the usual number.
Spikes or clusters of suspicious cases have also been reported in Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The strain of salmonella, a common bacterial form of food poisoning, involved in the outbreak is the most common strain.
The Food and Drug Administration is also investigating.
So far, much of the investigation has been centered on restaurants in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina.
Seattle law firm amends lawsuit
A Seattle-based food safety law firm amended a lawsuit originally filed against the Baker Street Restaurant and Pub in Kenosha, Iowa, to include Wright County Egg.
Nearly 32 million cartons of eggs, or 380 million eggs, have been recalled.
A salmonella outbreak at the Kenosha restaurant has been linked to the recall, and nearly 300 illnesses have been tied to Wright Company Egg Company in Iowa.
At least 20 cases of salmonella were reported after people ate at the Baker Street Restaurant and Pub in Kenosha in July.
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