Perspective

FDA announces recall of over 200 million eggs

More than 200 million eggs have been recalled because of potential Salmonella contamination, the FDA recently announced.

The FDA, along with the CDC, traced the source of the outbreaks to an egg farm in Hyde County, North Carolina. The Hyde County farm is one of 17 facilities owned by Rose Acre Farms, of Seymour, Indiana, which voluntarily recalled the potentially contaminated 206,749,248 eggs. Currently, 23 cases of Salmonella infections have been reported by the CDC, including six hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported by the CDC.

The Hyde County farm distributes to restaurants and supermarkets in nine states, including Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Foods with animal origins, such as eggs, meat and poultry, may be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, according to the CDC, and should not be consumed raw or undercooked. “This is a reminder that eggs, like other food-animal products, are not pathogen free,” Elaine Scallan, PhD, director of the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, co-director of the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence and associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Infectious Disease News. “Consumers, particularly those known to be at a higher risk for foodborne illness (young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems), should be reminded to refrigerate eggs and to cook eggs well or use pasteurized egg products.”

Image of eggs.
Rose Acre Farms voluntarily recalled more than 200 million eggs because of potential Salmonella contamination, according to the FDA.
Source: Debora Cartagena/CDC

In a statement, Rose Acre Farms said that some of the illnesses were linked to grocery stores where the company does not supply eggs.

However, the Hyde County farm suspended distribution of shell eggs, and the FDA recommends that consumers in affected states check their purchases and avoid eating potentially contaminated eggs.

The eggs are sold under various brand names, such as Great Value, Glenview, Sunshine Farms, Coburn Farms, Crystal Farms, Country Daybreak and Food Lion.

The recalled egg cartons should have the plant number P-1065, along with the Julian date range of 011 through 102, or Jan. 11 to April 12, according to the FDA.

“The recall was conducted in full cooperation with the FDA and we look forward to getting the Hyde County farm back in operation as soon as possible,” Rose Acre farms said in the statement. “For now, the North Carolina farm has halted delivery of all shell eggs, but Rose Acre is working on a 24-hour basis to fill customer orders from its other facilities around the country.” – by Marley Ghizzone

Disclosure: Scallan reports no relevant financial disclosures.

More than 200 million eggs have been recalled because of potential Salmonella contamination, the FDA recently announced.

The FDA, along with the CDC, traced the source of the outbreaks to an egg farm in Hyde County, North Carolina. The Hyde County farm is one of 17 facilities owned by Rose Acre Farms, of Seymour, Indiana, which voluntarily recalled the potentially contaminated 206,749,248 eggs. Currently, 23 cases of Salmonella infections have been reported by the CDC, including six hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported by the CDC.

The Hyde County farm distributes to restaurants and supermarkets in nine states, including Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Foods with animal origins, such as eggs, meat and poultry, may be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, according to the CDC, and should not be consumed raw or undercooked. “This is a reminder that eggs, like other food-animal products, are not pathogen free,” Elaine Scallan, PhD, director of the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, co-director of the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence and associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Infectious Disease News. “Consumers, particularly those known to be at a higher risk for foodborne illness (young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems), should be reminded to refrigerate eggs and to cook eggs well or use pasteurized egg products.”

Image of eggs.
Rose Acre Farms voluntarily recalled more than 200 million eggs because of potential Salmonella contamination, according to the FDA.
Source: Debora Cartagena/CDC

In a statement, Rose Acre Farms said that some of the illnesses were linked to grocery stores where the company does not supply eggs.

However, the Hyde County farm suspended distribution of shell eggs, and the FDA recommends that consumers in affected states check their purchases and avoid eating potentially contaminated eggs.

The eggs are sold under various brand names, such as Great Value, Glenview, Sunshine Farms, Coburn Farms, Crystal Farms, Country Daybreak and Food Lion.

The recalled egg cartons should have the plant number P-1065, along with the Julian date range of 011 through 102, or Jan. 11 to April 12, according to the FDA.

“The recall was conducted in full cooperation with the FDA and we look forward to getting the Hyde County farm back in operation as soon as possible,” Rose Acre farms said in the statement. “For now, the North Carolina farm has halted delivery of all shell eggs, but Rose Acre is working on a 24-hour basis to fill customer orders from its other facilities around the country.” – by Marley Ghizzone

Disclosure: Scallan reports no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Timothy F. Jones

    Timothy F. Jones

    Among other things, this outbreak highlights how the increasing centralization of our food production system can contribute to very large, widely disseminated outbreaks over a prolonged period. In the United States, for example, the three biggest poultry companies control 60% of production, four firms control 80% of all beef slaughtered, and the egg producer implicated in a recent Salmonella outbreak reportedly has a layer flock of 25 million hens. If things go awry in such enormously concentrated operations, the downstream consequences can be very far-reaching. Attributing a particular patient’s illness to a specific food can be very difficult, but regardless of the source, many safety messages remain the same. Proper handling and cooking of foods is very important, and many people are unaware of even some of the most basic food handling principles (handwashing, avoiding cross-contamination, thorough cooking, safe holding temperatures, etc.).

    In addition, many foodborne pathogens are especially dangerous for children and other high-risk groups. As examples, Listeria can be devastating to pregnant women and newborns, hemolytic uremic syndrome following Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli infection predominantly affects young children, and Salmonella is a particular risk for children aged younger than 5 years, infants who are not breastfed, adults aged older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems. Because many causes of gastroenteritis are difficult to distinguish clinically, stool cultures should be obtained in severe cases to guide appropriate treatment.

    In an era in which antibiotic stewardship is such a high priority, it is important for clinicians to remember (and educate patients) that antibiotics are unnecessary in most cases of infectious gastroenteritis and can even be harmful in some situations. In addition, it is critical that public health authorities are notified of reportable infectious diseases (including most bacterial causes of gastroenteritis), as this is the way that large outbreaks such as this one can be identified and controlled.

    • Timothy F. Jones, MD
    • State epidemiologist Tennessee Department of Health Infectious Disease News Editorial Board member

    Disclosures: Jones reports no relevant financial disclosures.