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Before You Make Sunday Breakfast, Check Those Eggs (Again)

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on September 9, 2018

Eggs can be found in practically every kitchen. While this simply means that Americans seem to like eggs, it also means that the possibility of eggs being contaminated is an incredibly serious issue that should never be trifled with. We’re certainly used to hearing about recalls these days due to food poisoning threats and outbreaks, especially in food items that are commonly found to be contaminated with certain bacteria, but that doesn’t make a recall any less serious. Currently, Gravel Ridge Farms is recalling their Cage Free Large Eggs because of a potential threat of salmonella contamination. Here is what you should know!

What Exactly is a Recall?

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) within the United States Department of Agriculture carefully inspects and dutifully regulates all meats, poultry, and processed egg products that are produced in federally inspected plants across the states. FSIS remains responsible that all of these products remain safe for buyer consumption, which includes accurate labeling and testing for bacteria. All other foods outside of meats, poultry, and eggs are regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process is in place to ensure that Americans everywhere are able to purchase the safest foods possible.

A food recall happens when a manufacturer or distributor acts voluntarily in order to protect the public from their own products that might cause health issues or even death. Recalls are intended to remove all possibly contaminated food products from commerce when there is satisfactory reason to believe that these products have been contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded. Recalls are generally initiated by the manufacturer or distributor, though sometimes occur upon demand of FSIS or the FDA. While all recalls happen voluntarily, should a company refuse to recall its products after being required to do so by FSIS or the FDA, then these orchestrations have full legal authority to detain or seize any products in question.

Gravel Ridge Farms Recall

In this particular instance, the FDA issued a recall for the Gravel Ridge Farms Cage Free Large Eggs. According to the FDA, “The recall was initiated because reported illnesses were confirmed at locations using Gravel Ridge Farm Eggs, and we are voluntarily recalling out of an abundance of caution.”

The bacteria thought to be involved in these Gravel Ridge Farm eggs is, understandably, salmonella. This organism can cause some very serious and sometimes even fatal infections, especially in young children, frail or elderly people, and others who have weakened immune systems or pre-existing illnesses. A healthy individual who has become infected with salmonella bacteria generally experiences a fever, diarrhea – either bloody or nonbloody – nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, and vomiting. While it is very rare, sometimes a salmonella infection can result in someone manifesting salmonella in their bloodstream which in turn causes much more severe issues, such as arterial infections, infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis.

It wasn’t until September 6th of this year that the Gravel Ridge Farm was notified by the FDA that their products supplied to many different companies could be contaminated with this salmonella bacteria. According to the FDA, the products directly affected are as follows:

Product Size UPC Use By Dates
Gravel Ridge Farms

Large Cage Free Eggs

Single Dozen and 2.5 Dozen Flats 7-06970-38444-6 7/25/18 through 10/3/18

The FDA went on to explain that the products have been distributed all throughout June 25th, 2018, and September 6th, 2018, meaning that a great deal of possibly contaminated products have been purchased by consumers for months. All of the products have been packaged in cardboard containers and primarily sold to restaurants and retail stores. The FDA recommends that any customer who has purchased one of these products to dispose of them immediately – even if it’s just to return them to the store for a refund. According to the FDA, “If any consumers have Gravel Ridge Farms eggs in their refrigerator, they should be discarded, regardless of the date stamped on the package. Consumers with questions may call Dustin Smith at 205-363-1105 M-F Between 8AM and 4PM Central Time.” It is a good idea to take a picture of the carton and keep your receipt, just in case you become sick.

The FDA clarifies that all of the following retail stores have been confirmed to having carried the product in question:

  • Atlanta
    • Candler Park Market
    • Grant Park Market
    • Westview Corner Market
    • Sevananda Natural Foods
    • The Merchantile
  • Birmingham
    • Piggly Wiggly Clairemont
    • Piggly Wiggly River Run
    • Piggly Wiggly Crestline
    • Piggly Wiggly Bluff Park
    • Piggly Wiggly Dunnavent Valley
    • Piggly Wiggly Warrior
    • Piggly Wiggly Homewood
    • Western Market Mt. Brook
    • Western Market Rocky Ridge
    • Foodland Eva
    • Warehouse Discount Grocery Hanceville
    • Warehouse Discount Grocery Cullman 2 locations
    • Foodland Priceville
    • Star Market Huntsville
    • Manna Grocery Tuscaloosa

Anyone who has shopped at these stores and purchased egg products should consider discarding them for the safety of their and their household’s health.

Egg Safety

The possibility of there being salmonella in eggs is common and yet practically impossible to predict, which means that anyone cooking with eggs needs to be especially careful. When preparing eggs or products containing eggs, proper food handling and cooking techniques must be followed. Simply a drop of raw egg can contain enough salmonella to sicken an adult.

When cooking, properly cleaning up after any egg spillage in the kitchen is essential. All surfaces that have touched raw eggs should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and hot water. Additionally, thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water is essential to avoiding foodborne illnesses due to eggs.

Proper cooking procedures are also important. Cooking all eggs and egg products thoroughly will help eliminate any threat a bacteria brings, thanks to the fact that heat kills bacteria. Any amount of an egg left uncooked, however, opens the door to the possibility of a salmonella infection, so be sure that all of your scrambled eggs and egg-filled baked goods are properly cooked!

Conclusion

Practically everybody likes eggs. They’re delicious, and they’re necessary for thousands of recipes, but they also present their fair share of risk. Be sure to follow all food handling techniques, properly cook your eggs and egg products, and pay close attention to any recalls. Food safety is important, and following some simple rules can benefit you greatly!

If you or someone you know has been sickened by egg products recently believed to have been manufactured by Gravel Ridge Farms, be sure to report your illness immediately and seek medical attention for your illness. Any and all reports can be beneficial to the contamination-prevention process.

By: Abigail Ryan, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)