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Salmonella Egg Outbreak Over, More to Come?

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on June 23, 2018

In the last week, the CDC has closed its investigation into a Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs being produced at Rose Acre Farms’ Hyde County Farm.

The final case stats include:

  • Forty-five people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup were reported from 10 states.
  • Eleven people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
  • A total of 206,749,248 shell eggs were recalled.
  •  Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. voluntarily recalled 23,400 dozen eggs

What Happened?

Health authorities advised consumers to not eat eggs produced at this farm due to its link to an outbreak of reported infections of a rare form of Salmonella across multiple states. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, the eggs from this affected farm were distributed across 10 states, including: Alaska, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The eggs were also distributed to other countries.

The company has recalled more than 200 million eggs of its farm where the outbreak was sourced. The investigators from FDA worked alongside CDC and state authorities to conduct traceback searches to find the eggs that were causing illnesses. The farm is located in Hyde County in North Carolina and owned by Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana.

Since the announcement of the outbreak, lawsuits have been filed.

About Rose Acre Farms

Rose Acre Farms is the second largest producer of eggs in the United States. They employ 2000 people and own 3 million egg laying hens that produce about 2.3 million eggs in a day – just at that one farm. According to a statement released by the company, they have a United States Department of Agriculture inspector on site daily. The company is the manufacturer of shell eggs, specialty eggs and several other quality egg products, such as: dried eggs, egg protein powder, etc. The Hyde County Farm in North Carolina had never been involved in the outbreak or recall before, but reports released by the FDA show that they have been the subjects of several food safety violations as far back as September of 2017.

What should you know about the products being recalled?

We are happy to report that the affected eggs are no longer in retail stores and their “use by” dates have expired.

Eggs from the Hyde county farm have been sold under numerous brand names to various restaurants and supermarkets like Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms and Sunshine Farms. The egg cartons that were affected by the recall were labeled with the plant number P-1065. The packet dates should be between 011 to 102 according to the Julian number system. The Julian dates start with 001 as the start of January and 365 as the end of December or end of year. So, these dates mean the packing was conducted between January 11 through April 12 of 2018. This number system is quite common on egg cartons.

FDA urged consumers to check the labeling before they purchase eggs and avoid the products that are contaminated.

Timeline of the Outbreak

March 5, 2018 – A cluster of Salmonella Braenderup infections in multiple states were reported to FDA. Investigators at FDA, along with CDC and state authorities, started an investigation. They began collecting additional information and traceback activities in order to identify a common food source among the reported infections. Eggs were identified as a possible source after interviews were conducted with the ill persons. FDA went through several records in order to identify the source of eggs which people ate.

March 26, 2018 – April 11, 2018 – The FDA conducted an in-depth inspection of the Hyde County farms once they discovered the eggs were produced there. The agencies started collecting samples for the testing at the farm.

On April 11, 2018, the FDA received a confirmation from their laboratory analysis that one of the samples collected from the Rose Acre Farms’ production facility in North Carolina has the same Salmonella strain that is making people ill in several states. This evidence has confirmed that the Hyde county farm owned by Rose Acre Farms was the likely source of the eggs that have caused infections.

April 13, 2018 – Rose Acre Farms issued a voluntary recall with plant number P-1065 and that have Julian dates from 011 through 102. These numbers are printed on the cartons of the eggs.

Previous Outbreaks Related to Eggs

2016 Good Earth Egg Company Outbreak

The last egg outbreak in the United States was in 2016, and the strain of Salmonella Oranienburg was identified in the infections. A total of 8 people were identified from 3 different states. The eggs were sourced to The Good Earth Egg company and they recalled all their eggs that were a possible source of contamination. The investigation ended with a recall. Luckily, there were no deaths due to the outbreak.

2010 Half-A-Billion Egg Recall Outbreak

The last big outbreak related to eggs that caused Salmonella was reported in 2010. Half a billion eggs were recalled as a result of the outbreak that caused more than 3500 reported illnesses in a period of about 6 months. Salmonella enteritidis was the strain of the infection. The recall was traced back to Wright County Egg and Hillandale farms of Iowa.

Keeping Safe from Salmonella

To stay safe, it is crucial that you follow proper food safety practices. Wash and sanitize all the kitchen equipment, such as: cutting boards, knives, surfaces, etc. Always maintain extra care with raw meat and dairy products as they are a source of pathogens.

If you feel ill or think might have consumed the recalled products, we recommend you contact your health care specialist as soon as possible. Remember, early medical intervention can help reduce the risk of severe illness and long-term complications.

Salmonella infections can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Some of those who are infected may have a fever as well. The symptoms can start between 6-72 hours after the infection. The diarrhea can be severe. Most patients will recover from the disease within 4-7 days without any need for antibiotics. The infection can cause complications in older people, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune system. Hospitalization may also be required in some cases.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)