Friday, August 20, 2010

Salmonella: On Packaging, In Food; But Right Now, Mostly in Eggs

Salmonella is definitely in the news.

I've pulled together some of what's happened since yesterday morning, including an update from the Centers for Disease Control. There's no rant in this post, to boycott everybody and sue the company that delivered Wright County Egg's tracking equipment.

I figure somebody else will do that.

You might be interested in knowing what's going on, though, and what products are affected in that big egg recall: so here's what I found.

Tainted Egg Update from the CDC

"Investigation Update: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Associated with Shell Eggs"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (updated August 19, 2010)

"Recall Information

"On August 13, 2010, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa conducted a nationwide voluntary recall* of shell eggs. On August 18, 2010, Wright County Egg expanded its recall.*..."

There's quite a bit more on that updated CDC page, about salmonella and how to deal with it.
Excerpt from an FDA announcement (August 18, 2010):

"Wright County Egg Expands Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk"
Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts / Safety / U.S. Food and Drug Administration (August 18, 2010)

"...Eggs affected by the expanded recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies in California, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. These companies distribute nationwide.

"Eggs are packaged under the following brand names: Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralphs, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast. Eggs are packed in varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons, and loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229 and plant numbers 1720 and 1942.

"Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton or printed on the case label. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1720 223.
"Prior Recall

"Eggs under the August 13, 2010 recall 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, and loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging) with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946.
"There have been confirmed Salmonella enteritidis illnesses relating to the shell eggs and traceback investigations are ongoing...."

I merged information from the two recalls, as described on that page on the FDA website.
  • Brands involved:
    • Albertsons
      • And/or Albertson
    • Boomsma
      • And/or Boomsma's
    • Dutch Farms
    • Farm Fresh
    • Glenview
    • Hillandale
    • James Farms
    • Kemps
    • Lucerne
    • Lund
    • Mountain Dairy
    • Pacific Coast
    • Ralphs
    • Shoreland
    • Sunshine
    • Trafficanda
  • Eggs packaged in:
    • 6-egg cartons
    • Dozen egg cartons
    • 18-egg cartons
    • Loose eggs for institutional use and repackaging
  • Dates affected:
    • Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229
  • Plant numbers involved:
    • plant numbers 1720 and 1942
The FDA announcement also says where to find the date and plant identification numbers:

"...Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton or printed on the case label. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1720 223...."

I'm impressed with the amount of detailed information the CDC and FDA provide. On the other hand, I think they'll eventually improve the way they present the information.

I put the brand names in alphabetical order and display them as a bulleted list because you probably want to find the information you want as easily as possible. Breaking out a list that way is an old trick marketing folks use. Why the FDA didn't do that in the first place - well, that's another topic.

Now, some of what's in the news about salmonella:
"CDC: Tainted eggs may have sickened hundreds in recent months"
CNN (August 19, 2010)

"The salmonella outbreak that led to the recall of 380 million eggs was preventable and will likely grow, federal officials said Thursday.

"Hundreds of Americans likely have become ill from tainted eggs in recent months, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell said Thursday.

"From May 1 to July 31, a total of 1,953 cases of Salmonella enteritidis were reported; the expected number of such cases ordinarlily in that time would be about 700, Dr. Christopher Braden, acting director of the CDC's division of food-borne, waterborne and environmental diseases, said in a conference call Thursday. The CDC is not yet sure exactly how many cases can be attributed to this particular outbreak.

"The salmonella outbreak prompted Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, to increase its recall Wednesday to 380 million eggs...."

That's a whole lot of eggs. The good news here is that Wright County Egg is working with the CDC and FDA to locate the tainted eggs and get them out of the food chain.

Let the Litigation Begin

Lawsuits connected with this public-health issue have started:

"...One Wisconsin woman infected by salmonella has filed a lawsuit against a restaurant that allegedly served contaminated eggs linked to the nationwide outbreak of the potentially deadly bacteria.

"Plaintiff Tanja Dzinovic, 27, from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, said she got sick after eating at the Baker Street Restaurant and Pub in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in June. She recently retained the Seattle, Washington-based law firm Marler Clark, which specializes in food poisoning cases, and amended her lawsuit against the restaurant to include Wright County Egg...."

Yes, folks: you read it here. America has food-poisoning lawyers. If you don't feel good and figure it maybe was the scrambled eggs you had at the diner: you can enrich a law firm or two by suing.

The Wisconsin case seems to be a bit more than a simple upset tummy:

"...Drew Falkenstein, the Marler Clark attorney co-representing Dzinovic, said Thursday although she returned to work a while ago, after a week of acute illness, she suffers from ongoing gastrointestinal problems...."

They may not be asking for a few million to cover "emotional pain and suffering:" so I suppose it could be worse.

Salmonella On Diary Products' Packaging

"Umpqua Dairy responds to total liquid recall, salmonella on containers" Breaking News, (August 19, 2010)

"Umpqua Dairy representatives are reacting to a recall that's pulled all of its liquid milk products and juices off the shelves in Oregon and the Northwest because of a salmonella contamination on outside packaging.

"The recall targets Umpqua Dairy products purchased on or before Monday, August 16th, 2010, including:

"--Regular milk

"--Flavored milk




"--Orange Juice

"--Fruit drink

"Those drinks were also sold under generic brand names including, 'Cascade,' 'Great Value,' 'Lady Lee,' 'Market of Choice,' and 'Sherm's.'..."

This is a new wrinkle to me: generally salmonella is inside the food, not on the outside of the container that the food comes in. Looks like the salmonella got on the company's tracking system for packaging.

Not good news for them: but at least now they know which area to get cleaned up.

And, I trust, to figure out how the germs got on the tracking system.

Salmonella in Alfalfa Sprouts

"Alfalfa sprouts recalled in NY, salmonella found"
The Associated Press, via MSNBC (August 19, 2010)

"New York agricultural officials say some packages of alfalfa sprouts from Snow White Food Products Inc. are being recalled due to the presence of salmonella.

"The recalled alfalfa sprouts are packaged in 3.5 ounce plastic clamshell containers. They have a UPC code of 0-46421-11236-6. The product from the Brooklyn-based company was distributed in New York state and potentially elsewhere in the New York City region. Officials are investigating how broadly the sprouts were distributed...."

Before deciding that no commercial food is safe, and that your only course of action is to flee to the wilds and grow your own food: a few thoughts.
  • Most food didn't get contaminated
  • Outbreaks like these are news because they're comparatively rare phenomena
  • We developed today's high-efficiency food industry partly because growing your own food is very hard work
Looks like there's salmonella outside the contiguous 48's coastal zone:

Salmonella in Eggs - In Alaska

"Alaska confirms 2 salmonella cases tied to eggs"
The Associated Press, via Anchorage Daily News (August 19, 2010)

"The state has confirmed at least two cases of salmonella matching the strain tied to recalled eggs, a health department spokesman said Thursday.

"Greg Wilkinson told The Associated Press that in at least one of the cases, in Anchorage, the person ate eggs. He said it's not yet clear whether the second person, in Homer, also did, though the department says eggs are suspected.

"The state also reported a suspected case of salmonella in Girdwood, but tests were needed to confirm that possibility...."

Looks like they don't know yet, whether this Alaska situation is tied in to the salmonella troubles with Iowa-based Wright County Egg.
Related posts:

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory