An Iowa egg farm has recalled 380 million eggs after hundreds of people in California, Minnesota and Colorado were sickened with a dangerous strain of salmonella. The strain, Salmonella enteritidis, can contaminate a hen s ovaries with bacteria without sickening the bird which then produces eggs whose whites, yolks and shell have been tainted.
The outbreak may have started as early as May; new egg safety rules went into effect July 9 that require testing for the salmonella strain and pasteurization if the tests are positive.
Usually only severe illnesses are reported to authorities, so the numbers we re seeing could be only the tip of the iceberg says Dr. Ross. Salmonella enteritidis causes diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains.
To reduce one's risk of Salmonella enteritidis, the CDC recommends never keeping eggs at room temperature for more than two hours; washing hands, utensils and food preparation surfaces after contact with raw eggs; and cooking eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm.
On another food-contamination note, the CDC announced last week that tainted hummus was the No. 1 source of foodborne illness in 2007. (More than half of the 802 people sickened were stricken in a single episode, however, from tainted hummus at the Taste of Chicago.) Norovirus was the second most common pathogen as a cause of outbreaks.