Health Safety News: Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Salmonella from Eggs

  • Click the link in the first paragraph at left to learn how you can identify recalled eggs by their packaging.

    Click the link in the first paragraph at left to learn how you can identify recalled eggs by their packaging.

The Mountain Enterprise is providing this information from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about salmonella and eggs. Click to visit this California Department of Public Health List of Recalled Eggs Distributed in California:

Local Markets Report They Carry No Recalled Eggs

Frazier Park Market carries only Rosemary Farms and Egglands Best eggs, neither of which are on the recall list. Pine Mountain General Store and Midway Market in Lake of the Woods carry only Rosemary Farms. Mountain View Market in Lake of the Woods and Don’s Liquor Market in Frazier Park only carry Foster Farms eggs, which are not on the recall list. Mountain View Market Deli did use a brand that was on the list to prepare meals, but it was immediately disposed of and replaced with Foster Farms, according to owner Ray Akari.

Where on the eggs does salmonella exist, and under what conditions can it cause illness?

The bacterium, Salmonella Enteritidis, can be on both the outside and inside of eggs that appear to be normal, and if the eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacterium can cause illness.

What can I do to reduce my risk of getting Salmonella Enteritidis from eggs?

Eggs, like meat, poultry, milk, and other foods, are safe when handled properly. Shell eggs are safest when stored in the refrigerator, individually and thoroughly cooked, and promptly consumed. The larger the number of Salmonella present in the egg, the more likely it is to cause illness. Keeping eggs adequately refrigerated prevents any Salmonella present in the eggs from growing to higher numbers, so eggs should be kept refrigerated until they are used.

Cooking reduces the number of bacteria present in an egg; however, an egg with a runny yolk still poses a greater risk than a completely cooked egg. Undercooked egg whites and yolks have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections. Both should be consumed promptly and not be kept warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
What are the specific actions I can take to reduce my risk of a Salmonella Enteritidis infection?

1. Keep eggs refrigerated at ≤ 45° F (≤7° C) at all times.
2. Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
3. Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
4. Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
5. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
6. Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
7. Avoid eating raw eggs.
8. Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that calls for raw eggs.
9. Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.

Who is most at risk for getting Salmonella Enteritidis?

The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems may have a more severe illness. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

How do I know if I have Salmonella Enteritidis?

A person infected with the Salmonella Enteritidis bacterium usually has fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food or beverage. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without antibiotic treatment. However, the diarrhea can be severe, and the person may be ill enough to require hospitalization.

How do eggs get contaminated with salmonella?

The bacterium salmonella enteritidis silently infects the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells are formed.

The hen encounters the bacteria in its environment. The bacteria invades the hen’s reproductive and digestive systems.

Most types of salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and are transmitted to humans by contaminated foods of animal origin.

Stringent procedures for cleaning and inspecting eggs were implemented in the 1970s and have made salmonellosis caused by external fecal contamination of egg shells extremely rare.

The current epidemic is due to intact and disinfected grade A eggs.

Although most infected hens have been found in the northeastern United States, the infection also occurs in hens in other areas of the country. In the Northeast, approximately one in 10,000 eggs may be internally contaminated.

In other parts of the United States, contaminated eggs appear less common. A small number of hens seem to be infected at any given time, and an infected hen can lay many normal eggs while only occasionally laying an egg contaminated with the salmonella bacterium.

California Department of Public Health Explains which Eggs To Watch for:

See the list of recalled eggs here.

There is a new recall and an earlier recall. If you have eggs from either of the recalls described below, do not eat them. Return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.

The new recall covers eggs packaged under the brand names of Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps, Pacific Coast and Country Eggs are marked with plant numbers P-1720, P-1942, P-1946 and P-1026 and a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 229.

The earlier recall covered the Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps brands that were marked with plant numbers P-1026, P-1413 and P-1946, and a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 225.

Printed on the outside of the egg cartons, the plant number begins with "P” and is followed by the three-digit code.

This is part of the August 20, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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