Salmonella has been found in the feed used at the farms linked to the massive outbreak and subsequent recall of eggs and was at least one of the causes, federal officials said today. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this is the largest outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis since records starting being kept in the 1970s.
The feed was made at Wright County Egg -- the main source of the 500 million-plus egg recall. That farm also supplied feed to Hillandale Farms, the other major egg producer involved in the recall. The CDC now puts the number of those sickened at 2,403 -- but that only includes cases that were documented by medical professionals and transmitted to the CDC. Food safety experts say the actual figure of people sickened is several times that.
Those two Iowa egg producers have enormous reach -- shipping nationwide and to Mexico. The eggs are sold under well over a score of brand names. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now has a searchable database so consumers can see if they purchased any of the potentially-tainted eggs, many of which could still be in refrigerators.
Food safety advocates are pointing to this outbreak as a prime example of why the nation's food safety system needs an overhaul -- one that is currently on the table in Congress but stuck in the political machinery.
Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of the food safety advocacy group S.T.O.P. (Safe Tables Our Priority), told Consumer Ally that this type of outbreak is unprecedented because large outbreaks of illness related to eggs typically take place in an institutional setting where many eggs are co-mingled.
She said that she and her daughter both were sickened by eggs from this recall.
Salmonella can be fatal to those most vulnerable to infection: young children, the frail, elderly and those with compromised immune systems. For most others, the symptoms would be gastrointestinal distress and could involve a fever.
Among the egg brands included in the recall: Albertsons, Bayview, Dutch Farms, Lucerne, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Nulaid, Shoreland, Sunshine, Sun Valley, Ralph's, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast.
The government's FoodSafety.gov has additional details about egg safety and brands included in the constantly expanding recall, as well as the codes on the packaging.
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