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Recall of Eggs Continues to Expand Over Risk of Food Poisoning

Fears over salmonella contamination at a second farm have expanded a nationwide recall of eggs to include more than half a billion eggs. 

On August 20, the FDA announced that the egg recall launched earlier this month has been expanded to include shell eggs from Hillandale Farms in Iowa. The recall expansion came after laboratory testing confirmed the presence of Salmonella Enteritidis, the same strain of contamination that led to a recall at Wright County Egg farms on August 13.

The latest recall includes about 170 million eggs sold in cartons of 6, 12, 18, and 30, and in cases of five one-dozen egg cartons under the following labels: Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms and Sunny Meadow. The recall also includes loose eggs sold in 15 and 30-dozen tray packs under the Wholesome Farms and West Creek labels.

The eggs have plant numbers of P1860, with Julian dates ranging from 099 to 230, and P1663, with Julian dates ranging from 137 to 230. Julian dates represent the number of days since the beginning of the year, so a Julian date of 230 represents eggs packaged on August 18.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.

Both Hillandale Farms and Wright County Egg share some of the same suppliers, but the FDA has yet to determine the source of the salmonella contamination.

The CDC reports that from May 1 to July 31, 2010, there were 1,953 Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses reported, compared to an average of 700 such illnesses reported over the last five years during the same time period. The CDC estimates that only one out of every 38.5 people who have contracted the illness actually gets counted. In many cases people don’t go to the hospital or the illnesses don’t otherwise get reported to CDC. That means that nearly 50,000 people could potentially have fallen ill due to contaminated eggs. 

Consumers who have purchased eggs affected by the recall should not consume the eggs and should return them to their place of purchase for a full refund. The recall is limited to eggs sold in their shells.

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