There has been a lot of information (and rumors) floating around about the giant, multi-state egg recall over the past few weeks. Here is the latest information, from an update released today by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration:
Why are eggs being recalled?
The recalled eggs were distributed by two companies (Hillandale Farms and Wright County Farms) due to laboratory-confirmed illnesses. They are assumed to have a relatively high risk of transmitting Salmonella.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is both a bacteria, and the name of the illness people can get if they eat eggs (or other foods) that have been infected with the Salmonella bacteria. The official name of the illness is Salmonella Enteritidis, or simply Salmonella.
Is Salmonella serious?
It can be. Even moderate symptoms are no laughing matter. A healthy person infected with Salmonella may experience fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses, such as arterial infections (infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.
Children, older people, and people with compromised immune systems who become infected with Salmonella will experience more severe symptoms, and may even develop fatal infections.
How do I know if my eggs have Salmonella?
First, you can never tell just by looking at the eggs themselves–they won’t look “rotten” or have any outward signs of being infected.
Second, always discard old eggs–the longer an egg sits in your refrigerator, the greater the risk that Salmonella has been growing. Refrigerations slows, but does not stop, Salmonella bacteria from multiplying.
Third, with regard to this current egg recall, look at the egg carton to determine if your eggs have been recalled. You’ll want to look for two numbers: the PLANT number, and the 3-digit JULIAN DATE. Both these numbers are found under the “Sell By” date on the end of the carton. (See photo below for details)
Hillandale Farms egg cartons affected by the recall will have these numbers:
- P1860 – Julian dates ranging from 099 to 230
- P1663 – Julian dates ranging from 137 to 230
The Wright County Farms eggs that are being recalled are:
- P1720 and P1942 – with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229
- P1026, 1413,1946 – with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225
The companies have identified more than 16 brand names under which the eggs were sold, but that information is incomplete. Some eggs were sold individually rather than in cartons, so they could be repackaged under other brands. This means that we cannot say with any certainty that a particular brand or grocery store is “safe.”
What should I do if I have a carton of these recalled eggs?
If you have recalled eggs, throw them away or return them to the retailer for a refund. If you are unsure about the source of your eggs, throw them away. (When it comes to food-borne illness, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.)