There is something foul in your egg (at least in the US) and it is called Salmonella. The current figures indicated that half a billion eggs – yes, that is 500 million have been recalled due to fears of salmonellosis.
But what is Salmonella and what can it do?
Salmonella is a bacterial genus that causes the food-borne illness called salmonellosis which has the following symptoms:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Abdominal pain due cramping
- Fever (eventually typhoid fever)
Salmonellosis occurs when a person ingests Salmonella-contaminated food. The most common sources of Salmonella are raw eggs, raw meat, and fresh fruit vegetables and nuts.
There are strict regulations in farm operations to avoid Salmonella contamination and in the US, federal inspectors make sure that the regulations are observed.
The US FDA announced the outbreak of salmonellosis that resulted in the illness of more than 1000 people in the US. The pathogen has been identified as Salmonella enteritidis. The contaminated eggs have been traced to several Iowa chicken farms.
The recalled eggs were from the following companies (source US FDA):
- Luberski Inc
- Hillandale Farms of Iowa
- Country Eggs, Inc.
- Wright County Egg
- NuCal Foods
The specific brands and instructions on how to identify the eggs being recalled from their packaging are given on the FDA site.
To reduce the risk for salmonellosis, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) gives the following advice:
- Keep eggs refrigerated at ≤ 45° F (≤7° C) at all times.
- 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 eating raw eggs.
- 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 persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.