THURSDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- An Iowa company at the
center of a massive recall of eggs linked to salmonella
contamination dramatically broadened the nationwide recall on
Wednesday to 380 million eggs.
The nationwide salmonella outbreak, which federal officials said
was the largest of its type related to eggs in years, has sickened
more than 250 people in at least four states.
The outbreak, which apparently began in May, appears to be
ongoing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
said. The outbreak began several weeks before the July introduction
of new federal safety rules intended to reduce the risk of
salmonella in eggs,
The New York Times reported.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, federal health
officials said they had received nearly 2,000 reports of salmonella
poisoning from May to July. But the officials couldn't say how many
of these cases were related to the current egg recall.
However, more cases of salmonella poisoning due to infected eggs
can be expected, said Dr. Christopher R. Braden, acting director of
the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental
"I would anticipate that we will be seeing more illnesses reported as a result of this outbreak," he said, citing the lag in time when a person can get sick and then reports of an illness are forwarded to the CDC.
On Aug. 13, the CDC said: "There have been confirmed
Salmonella enteritidis illnesses relating to the shell eggs
and traceback investigations are ongoing."
The outbreak has been tracked to in-shell eggs from Wright
County Egg in Galt, Iowa, which launched the recall. Its eggs were
distributed to wholesalers and food-service companies nationwide
under multiple brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy,
Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh,
Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.
According to state health officials, the salmonella-contaminated
eggs have sickened at least 266 Californians, 28 people in Colorado
and seven people in Minnesota. Clusters of suspicious cases have
also been reported in Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina,
Texas and Wisconsin, the
Associated Press reported.
The recall covers eggs in their shells packed between May 16 and
Aug. 13. They come in cartons ranging from six to 18 eggs and are
marked with plant numbers P-1026, P-1413 and P-1946. The eggs
should be returned for a refund.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently has teams on
site at Wright County Egg, spokeswoman Patricia El-Hinnawy
"Wright County Egg is fully cooperating with FDA's investigation by undertaking this voluntary recall," the company said in a statement, according to ABC News. "Our primary concern is keeping salmonella out of the food supply and away from consumers."
Salmonella can cause fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea and
usually lasts four to seven days.
The FDA advised consumers to:
- Toss recalled eggs or return them to the store for a
- See a doctor if you think you are ill after eating recalled
- Keep eggs refrigerated at all times.
- Throw out cracked or dirty eggs.
- Wash hands, utensils and preparation surfaces with soap and
water after contact with raw eggs.
- Cook eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm and eat
promptly after cooking.
The agency also warned consumers not to keep eggs warm or at
room temperature for more than two hours, and not to eat raw eggs
or restaurant dishes made with raw, undercooked or unpasteurized
Eating undercooked eggs should also be avoided, especially by
young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems
or debilitating illness, the agency added.
The New York Times reported that Wright County Egg has had
"run-ins" with regulators over poor or unsafe working conditions,
environmental violations, as well as the hiring of illegal
immigrants and the harassment of workers.
Hinda Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Wright County Egg, said the
company had put the required federal safety measures to protect
against salmonella in eggs in place before the July deadline, the
Meanwhile, the Umpqua Dairy Products Co. has recalled certain
milk and drink products sold in Oregon, southwestern Washington
state and northern California after a strain of salmonella bacteria
that has sickened 23 people was linked to its milk plant, the
The Oregon Department of Human Services said tests showed that
23 Oregon residents had matching DNA patterns of the salmonella
braenderup strain. Two people were hospitalized, the news service
Harmful bacteria such as salmonella are the most common cause of
foodborne illnesses, according to federal health officials.
For more information on salmonella, visit the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.