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News: Salmonella Outbreak Prompts Recall of 200 Million Eggs

News: Salmonella Outbreak Prompts Recall of 200 Million Eggs

Thirty-five people have been sickened and 11 hospitalized in connection with this outbreak. Check your fridge for these eggs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms. The company has issued a recall of more than 206 million eggs for fear of salmonella contamination. Over the last month, there have been 35 reported illnesses, including 11 hospitalizations, in nine states. There have been no deaths linked to the outbreak.

The recall, which began in April, focused on eggs produced on Rose Acre Farms' Hyde County location in North Carolina and distributed to stores and restaurants in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Walmart and Food Lion are among the food conglomerates that sold recalled eggs, but they're not the only ones. A full list of retailers can be found on the FDA website.

If you've recently purchased eggs, check the carton before cracking them open. Affected eggs came from plant number P-1065 and have a Julian date range of 011 through date of 102, which you'll find printed on the package. Recalled eggs should not be consumed and should be disposed of or returned to the place of purchase for a refund. Wash any surface that came in contact with these eggs with soap and warm water. This includes your hands, countertops, refrigerator, dishes, utensils or cutting boards.

Symptoms of salmonella
For most, salmonella food poisoning causes stomach cramps, diarrhea, headache, nausea and fever within 12 to 72 hours after ingestion. Usually, the sickness will last for fewer than seven days and clears on its own, with the help of fluids and rest. People with more severe symptoms may need to seek medical attention.

Salmonella typically is not life threatening, but certain populations are at a higher risk for complications, including children younger than five, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with immune-weakening conditions, like AIDS or sickle cell disease.

The most common complication from salmonella is dehydration, which can be treated through IV fluids. A small number of people may develop reactive arthritis, characterized by joint pain and eye irritation. Salmonella can also make its way into your blood stream, causing increased symptom severity or duration or organ damage. These advanced cases can lead to death if not treated swiftly with antibiotics. 400 people die each year from salmonella infections.

If you suspect your illness is related to consuming tainted eggs, see your doctor as soon as possible so they may perform any necessary tests.

Ways to avoid illness
The salmonella bacteria are not just found in eggs. It can also come from tainted meat, poultry, contaminated produce and unpasteurized products like milk, juice and cheese. You can still enjoy these foods, but be smart about purchasing, storing and preparing them.

  • Heat kills germs, so cook eggs, meat and poultry thoroughly before eating. Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm. Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, steak and roasts a warm 145 degrees and ground beef cooked until 160 degrees.
  • Buy pasteurized dairy products.
  • Keep food refrigerated before cooking, and don't thaw meat or poultry on the counter.
  • Wash hands and surfaces before and after handling raw eggs, meat or poultry.
  • Keep cooked and raw foods separate, and do not use the same cutting board or utensils.
  • Store food in refrigerator after serving.

Preparing food at home is one way to ensure it's safe for consumption, but if you're skeptical about something you're served at a restaurant, don't be afraid to speak up.

Alternatives to eggs
You don't have to swear off eggs, but if you're worried about the recall and want to avoid exposure, there are many other foods you can substitute into your diet.

It's never a bad time to try oatmeal with nut butter, Greek yogurt with fruit or avocado and spinach on whole wheat toast. Other lean protein alternatives include beans, lentils, tofu, boneless skinless chicken breast and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

If you use eggs for baking, explore some vegan recipes. These often use applesauce, oils, beans or mashed banana in place of eggs. Mixing chia or flax seeds with water is also a great option to bind together certain baked goods, like muffins.

If you want to keep track of the latest information surrounding this salmonella outbreak and egg recall, visit both the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

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