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Food Poisoning Health Center

Salmonella Outbreaks Spur Nationwide Egg Recall

Outbreak Traced to Supplier for Major Groceries, Restaurants
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The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1946 223.  Recalled eggs may be returned to the store for a full refund.

The salmonella strain causing the outbreak is Salmonella Enteritidis, the most common salmonella strain. Usually the CDC gets about 50 reports a week of Salmonella Enteritidis food poisoning; beginning in May there was a fourfold increase in salmonella reports. Each week in late June and early July the CDC received some 200 salmonella samples isolated from patients, all with the same DNA fingerprint.

Symptoms of infection begin 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated foods or beverages and include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually last four to seven days.

Most people recover without antibiotic treatment, but severe cases can be fatal. People prone to severe illness -- particularly severe diarrhea -- include the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems, including people on immune suppressive therapy such as cancer chemotherapy.

How to Avoid Food Poisoning From Eggs

This salmonella outbreak is caused by intact and disinfected eggs. The eggs come from salmonella-infected hens that carry the bacteria in their ovaries and pass it to eggs as they are being formed.

Eggs that appear to be fresh and normal may actually harbor salmonella.

If you like your eggs prepared over easy, you may want to change your egg-eating habits. Here's the CDC's advice on how to avoid food poisoning from eggs:

  • Don’t eat recalled eggs or products containing recalled eggs. Recalled eggs might still be in grocery stores, restaurants, and homes. Consumers who have recalled eggs should discard them or return them to their retailer for a refund.
  • People who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health care providers.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated at least to 45 degrees F at all times.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
  • Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
  • Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
  • Avoid eating raw eggs.
  • 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.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.

 

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