Egg Recall Expanded to Two Farms and Over 30 Brands of Eggs

The FDA has expanded a nationwide egg recall due to concerns about bacterial contamination.

August 19, 2010

Run the numbers: Check the carton to make sure your eggs aren't in the recalled lots.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—UPDATE AUGUST 24, 2010: The nationwide recall of eggs from Wright County Egg has grown larger, now encompassing nearly a half billion eggs contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria sold in grocery stores nationwide. On Saturday, a second farm, Hillendale Farms of Iowa, added 170 million eggs to the recall, and today, two companies distributing Hillendale Eggs added their brands to the growing list of recalled eggs.

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THE DETAILS: Both Wright County Egg and Hillendale Farms share the same feed supplier, according to various media reports, suggesting a possible link between the two recalls. But the actual source of Salmonella contamination remains under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still hasn't released official figures on how many illnesses have been linked to the eggs, but they have said that the cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infections being reported by public health departments around the country are nearly triple what they normally expect this time of year.

While many of the eggs were sold to consumers, some were sold directly to restaurants and food service companies. You can find a complete listing of all the recalled products with corresponding plant and Julian dates at the Egg Safety Center. Here's a list of the brands currently being recalled:

Albertson
Alta Dena Dairy
Bayview
Becky
Boomsma's
Cal Egg
Challenge Dairy
Country Eggs
Driftwood Dairy
Dutch Farms
E&M Ranch
Farm Fresh
Farmer's Gems
Glenview
Hidden Villa Ranch
Hillendale Farms
James Farms
Kemps
Lucerne
Lund
Mi Pueblo
Mountain Dairy
Nulaid
Pacific Coast
Ralph's
Shoreland
Sunny Farms
Sunny Meadow
Sunshine
Sun Valley
Trafficanda
West Creek
Wholesome Farms
Yucaipa Valley

WHAT IT MEANS: While egg-associated Salmonella infections can stem from fecal bacteria winding up on the outside of an egg, in many cases, they come from infected hens, according to the CDC. In infected hens, Salmonella can infect the ovaries and contaminate their eggs before the shells are formed. Hens in both large-scale, battery-cage operations and organic operations can be infected with Salmonella, but the good news is that it's less likely to happen in organic hens. A 2008 survey by the UK Soil Association, which certifies food in Britain as organic, found that large flocks of caged hens were 19 percent more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella than organically raised hens and 17 percent more likely to be contaminated than free-range or pastured hens. Whether the same would hold true in the US egg industry is unclear, but the association did find that rates of Salmonella were directly proportional to the size of the flock. The larger the flock, the more likely the hens were to be contaminated.

After you return your recalled eggs, look for organic or pastured eggs at the market:

• Know the difference. There are a lot of labels on egg cartons, and some are meaningful while others are not. Find out how to buy the healthiest eggs before you shop.

• It's worth the extra cost. You may be wondering if organic eggs are worth it, and the answer is yes. Organic eggs don't contain leftover antibiotic residues like conventionally produced eggs do, and eggs from hens given adequate access to pasture also contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

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