August 24th, 2010
03:27 PM ET
Just looking for the basics about what you need to know about the 2010 egg recall? Here are quick links that'll help answer your questions about the latest recall and salmonella outbreak.
What’s going on?
About half a billion eggs have been recalled because of a salmonella outbreak. While this recall involves hundreds of millions of eggs, they represent less than 1 percent of the 80 billion eggs produced in the United States each year, according to the Egg Safety Center, a trade association entity.
Egg producer Hillandale Farms of Iowa recalled some 170.4 million eggs distributed to stores and companies and another company, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, has recalled 380 million eggs.
Which eggs are affected?
The Egg Safety Center has a complete list of recalled eggs, their expiration dates, and brands. If you happen to have any of these don’t eat them – get rid of them or return them for a refund.
How many people have been affected?
About 1,300 cases of salmonella have been linked to eggs from Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms of Iowa, forcing a recall of their products in at least 17 states, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is salmonella?
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains that chickens can pass salmonella enteritidis, the bacteria at the center of the outbreak, without getting sick. Symptoms for humans can be mild to severe, but most people will have some gastrointestinal signs.
How did salmonella get into the eggs?
Laying hens can be infected either by contact with human workers who have not followed proper sanitary procedures, or, more frequently, by consuming feed that has come into contact with rodent feces. Affected hens can transmit the bacteria from their ovaries or oviducts before the shell even forms around an egg, thus making the egg's tainted status undetectable, Eatocracy’s Kat Kinsman explains.
What’s the background on the egg companies?
Congress has asked the two Iowa-based egg producers for details on the contamination of their egg products. The companies, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms were supplied by another company, Quality Egg, which provided feed and young birds. Both Wright County and Quality Egg are owned by the DeCoster family, which has a string of agribusiness interests in the Midwest and Northeast.
Could this have been prevented?
The latest outbreak raises serious questions about the U.S. food supply and safety. New regulations went into effect July 9, requiring egg producers with more than 3,000 hens to take measures designed to prevent the spread of salmonella. But the current outbreak began in May, according to the FDA.
I love eating eggs. Do I have to give them up?
Avoid the recalled products and here are some additional safety tips.
Will I be safer if I eat cage-free or organic eggs?
Regardless of methodology, none of it ensures that the eggs are completely safe from salmonella, Eatocracy explains.
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