August 20, 2010

Health officials remind Missourians about recommendations for avoiding Salmonella

Residents are urged to take precautions by avoiding food or drinks that contain raw or undercooked eggs

Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, has issued two recalls in the last week of shell eggs that it shipped since May 19, 2010. These eggs were shipped to food wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies in eight states, including Missouri.

The recalled eggs were 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. Consumers who bought any of these brands should toss them out or return them to the store where they were purchased.

To date, no cases of Salmonella linked to the eggs have been reported in Missouri. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause an infection in the lining of the small intestine. But the bacteria can be destroyed by thorough cooking.

Therefore, Missouri health officials recommend that consumers thoroughly cook all eggs until more is known about the source of the contamination. Consumers should avoid eating raw eggs and be sure that both the white and yolk of eggs are fully cooked before eating them.

Symptoms of Salmonella infections typically include diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, vomiting, fever, headache, chills and muscle pain. The illness can range from mild to severe. 

Symptoms most often appear about 12 to 36 hours after exposure to the bacteria.  The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. However, patients should seek medical treatment if symptoms are severe or they become dehydrated. The infection can be life-threatening if it spreads beyond the intestines. An estimated 600 people nationwide die each year from Salmonella infections.

Updates on the national investigation into salmonella outbreaks are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/enteritidis/. The CDC issued the following additional recommendations:

For Consumers

  • Individuals who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health care providers.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated at less than 45° F (7° C) at all times.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
  • Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
  • Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
  • Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any dish – such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing – that calls for raw eggs.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.

   
For Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments

  • In retail and food service establishments, pasteurized egg products or pasteurized in-shell eggs are recommended in place of pooled eggs or raw or undercooked shell eggs. If used, raw shell eggs should be fully cooked. If shell eggs are served undercooked, a consumer advisory should be posted in accordance with the Food Code.
  • In hospitals, nursing homes, adult or childcare facilities, and senior centers, pasteurized egg products or pasteurized in-shell eggs should be used in place of pooled eggs or raw or undercooked eggs.

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