THURSDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Hens at the two Iowa farms
at the center of the recall of more than half a billion eggs linked
to salmonella are still laying millions of eggs a day. And those
eggs will end up in food products ranging from salad dressings to
cookie dough to cake mixes.
However, those products will be perfectly safe for consumers to
eat, health and food-safety experts say.
The reason: the eggs will first be pasteurized to remove any
salmonella, a food-borne bacteria. Then the eggs can be sold as
"liquid eggs" or added to other products. Pasteurized, liquid eggs
are usually sold in cartons, displayed near the milk in most
Associated Press reported Thursday.
Wright Egg Farms and Hillandale Farms issued the egg recall
earlier this month after receiving reports that salmonella had
sickened nearly 2,000 people.
Experts stressed that any shell eggs that have been recalled
from store shelves are being destroyed. But spokeswomen for the two
farms said their hens are still laying several million eggs a day,
and those eggs are being shipped to facilities where the shells are
broken and the contents pasteurized, the
Hillandale Farms spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said the operation
has 2 million hens that lay an egg about every 26 hours. "It's
close to 2 million eggs a day," she said.
University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy told
AP that eggs laid by a hen infected with salmonella can be
safely sold if they are pasteurized or cooked. Both processes raise
the temperature of the eggs enough to kill most, if not all,
salmonella. The bacteria "are all going to be dead, and if they're
dead, they're not going to hurt anybody," he said.
Pasteurized liquid eggs can be used to prepare foods, such as
Caesar salad dressing, that call for raw eggs.
But what about any eggs still languishing in your fridge? Are
they safe to eat?
To find out, check the carton for the "Sell By" date and the two
numbers below it, federal health officials say, to see if your eggs
are involved in the recall. One number is the plant number, and the
other is the packaged date, or Julian date, showing what day of the
year the eggs were packaged. For example, Jan. 1 is 001 and Dec. 31
is 365. The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a list of
what numbered designations are included in the recall.
In healthy people, salmonella can cause fever, abdominal cramps
and diarrhea and usually lasts four to seven days. However,
contamination can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in
young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened
The FDA advises 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.
Harmful bacteria such as salmonella are the most common cause of
foodborne illnesses, according to federal health officials.
To learn more about salmonella, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.