More than 200 million eggs are being recalled by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa because their shells have a potential for Salmonella contamination. The eggs were distributed to wholesalers, distribution centers and other outlets in Colorado, California, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska. Wright County Egg added that the eggs are distributed nationwide.

In a press statement, Wright County Egg informs that there have been confirmed Salmonella enteritidis illnesses linked to the egg shells and traceback investigations are currently underway.

Wright County Egg says the eggs are packaged under the following brand names:
  • Lucerne
  • Albertson
  • Mountain Dairy
  • Ralph's, Boomsma's
  • Sunshine
  • Hillandale
  • Trafficanda
  • Farm Fresh
  • Shoreland
  • Lund
  • Dutch Farms
  • Kemps
There are various egg-cartons sizes, including 6-, 12-, and 18-egg cartons with Julian dates numbered from 136 to 225, and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946. The dates and codes are stamped on the carton. The consumer should see a letter "P" (the plant number) followed by the number, for example P-1946 223.

The recalled eggs were packed in their shells between May 16th and August 13th this year.

Wright Egg County says it is cooperating fully with FDA's investigation by issuing this voluntary recall. Purchasers of these eggs should return them to where they bought them for a full refund. Consumers are urged not to eat them.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says it is collaborating with public health officials in several states, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to investigate an increase in Salmonella enteritidis infections with an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern JEGXX01.0004. This is the most common PFGE pattern for SE in the PulseNet database. Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

In the USA, a normal incidence of Salmonella enteritidis infection is about 50 per week nationwide. In June 2010, when there were 200 cases each week, public health workers became alarmed. In some states the number of weekly infections started rising in May. It is believed the increase in infections is due to the Wright County eggs.

What is Salmonella? What is Salmonellosis

Salmonella infection, or salmonellosis, is a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. Salmonella is a group of bacteria that cause typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, enteric fever and other illnesses.

People become infected mostly through contaminated water or foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs.

The Salmonella family includes over 2,300 serotypes of bacteria - they are microscopic one-celled organisms. Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium are responsible for over 50% of all human infections in the USA. Some Salmonella strains that exist in humans can make animals sick, and vice-versa. The bacteria live in the gut of infected humans and animals.

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by Salmonella.Salmonellosis is the illness, while Salmonella is the bacterium.

Salmonella enteritidis infection causes gastroenteritis, with the following signs and symptoms:
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloody stools
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Very rarely, infection with Salmonella can result in bacteria getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis or arthritis.

    Sources: FDA, CDC, Wright County Egg

    Written by Christian Nordqvist