The United States Food and Drug Administration has a website at which consumers can search for potentially contaminated eggs. The can search by plant number (example: 1026 ), Julian date (example: 136 ), brand name (example: Albertson, Nulaid , etc.), UPC code (example: 0-11110-89969-9), or any combination of plant number, Julian date, brand name, UPC code or pack size. The link is www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/shelleggsrecall/.
CHASE – None of the eggs produced at Cal-Maine Foods egg-production facility north of Chase were involved in the national salmonella outbreak and subsequent egg recall, a company official said. The tainted eggs sold by the Jackson, Miss.,-based company came from farms in Iowa.
In fact, officials said, none of the eggs came from any of Cal-Maine’s 16 plants which are scattered across the southern half of the United States, with the highest concentration in the Southeast.
"The Chase plant is one of our larger and better operations," the spokesperson said.
However, Cal-Maine was a part of the recall of eggs believed to be tied to as many as 1,500 cases of salmonella poisoning. It recalled specific dates of shell-eggs it purchased on May 31, 2010, from Hillandale Farms of Iowa and re-packaged by Cal-Maine’s Benton County, Ark., facility because of potential contamination, a corporate news release said. These eggs total approximately 24,000 dozen and were distributed to food wholesalers and retailers in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Between April 9 and August 18, Hillandale sold 32 truckloads of eggs, or approximately 800,000 dozen eggs, to Cal-Maine. This accounts for approximately 0.3 percent of Cal-Maine’s total sales for that time period.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, there were about 1,300 cases of salmonella-infected eggs linked to Hillandale Farms and Wright County Eggs, also of Iowa, forcing a recall of their products in at least 17 states. Wright County Egg has recalled 380 million eggs, while Hillandale Farms recalled 170 million eggs.
FDA investigators found rodents, seeping manure, and maggots at the Iowa egg farms. Agency officials released their initial observations of the investigations at Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms Monday.
The two farms recalled more than half a billion eggs after salmonella illnesses were linked to their products earlier this month. The reports released by the FDA show many possible sources of contamination at both farms, including rodent, bug, and wild bird infestation, uncontained manure, holes in walls, and other problems. Positive samples of salmonella linked to the outbreak have been found at both farms.
Federal officials said they still cannot speculate on how the eggs were contaminated. But they said the farms not only violated their own standards but also new egg rules put in place this summer.
Through trace backs, on Aug. 20, the FDA identified Hillandale as the second potential source of contaminated eggs. Wright County was identified on August 13. But, the agency has been tracking an increase in salmonella cases since May.
The recall affects eggs shipped since May 16 that were sent to food wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies in California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.
The FDA said as many as 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths due to consumption of eggs contaminated with the salmonella may be avoided each year. To help stop this, new food safety requirements became effective on July 9 through a rule for egg producers having 50,000 or more laying hens – about 80 percent of production. Among other things, it requires them to adopt preventive measures and to use refrigeration during egg storage and transportation.
In fiscal 2009, Cal-Maine sold approximately 778 million dozen shell eggs, which represented about 18 percent of domestic shell egg consumption in the United States, the news release said. This makes the company one of the largest players in the shell egg market.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, 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, endocarditis or arthritis.