Aug. 27, 2010 by Liz Borkowski

What the Egg Recall Says About Our Food Safety System

Cross-posted from The Pump Handle.

The Iowa-based company Wright County Egg is recalling 380 million eggs, which were sold to distributors and wholesalers in 22 states and Mexico, due to concerns about salmonella contamination. The eggs have been sold under several different brand names, so if you've got eggs in your fridge you can check FDA's page for info. Salmonella-infected eggs traceable to this producer may have caused as many as 1,200 cases of intestinal illness in at least 10 states over the past several weeks. A second producer, Hillandale Farms, has also issued a recall 170 million eggs that have been shipped to 14 states.

Before getting into what's wrong with our food-safety system, I want to note the recall might not have happened at all if it weren't for surveillance and investigation activities at the state and national levels.

Officials identified the problem because CDC's PulseNet network (whose participant labs perform molecular subtyping of foodborne disease-causing bacteria) identified a much larger than usual number of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates in the samples it received. Ordinarily, CDC gets an average of 50 reports of SE illnesses weekly, but it started receiving approximately 200 reports per week during late June …

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Aug. 27, 2010

What the Egg Recall Says About Our Food Safety System