Illnesses in at least seven people in Minnesota are connected with a multi-state recall of eggs from an Iowa producer due to contamination with salmonella, state health officials said today.
The salmonella enteriditis cases were identified in two restaurant outbreaks in May and July, in which eggs were identified as the likely source. Eggs were traced back by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa. Restaurant clusters with the same strain have been identified in additional states.
Health officials emphasized that while seven cases in Minnesota have been linked with the recall, there are potentially many more cases that could be involved. So far this year, Minnesota has received more reports of salmonella enteriditis infections of this strain than were reported in previous years, according to Kirk Smith, a foodborne illness supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Health.
It is estimated that for every confirmed case of salmonella, there are approximately 38 unconfirmed cases. Salmonella enteriditis is one of the most common strains of salmonella circulating.
The eggs affected by this recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers and food service companies in California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. These companies distribute nationwide.
Eggs from Wright County Egg are packaged under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps. Eggs are packed in varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1946 223.
To prevent illness, Smith said it's important for consumers to cook eggs thoroughly before eating to destroy any salmonella or other bacteria. Consumers who believe they may have purchased these shell eggs should not eat them but should return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in dishes where the eggs may not be cooked thoroughly, such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing, Smith said.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with salmonella should contact their health care provider.