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Green Eggs and Ham

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Despite its popularity as one of Dr. Seuss's most popular books, the idea of green eggs and ham has never sounded appealing to me, except when the only other option is salmonella eggs from Iowa. Over the weekend, two farms in Iowa recalled over half a billion eggs after over 1,200 people had become sickened by Salmonella during the past few months. The two high-production commercial farms were Wright County Egg (380 million eggs recalled) and Hillandale Farms (170 million eggs recalled). For Hillandale Farms, this was their first recall in their 45-year history. Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, however, has two decades of legal problems with millions paid out in fines. Some of the more recent fines were for animal cruelty.

The eggs were shipped to a total of 17 states across the country: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Hillandale Farms said it shared "a number of common suppliers" with Wright County Egg, including a company called Quality Egg, which provided feed and young birds. Both Wright County and Quality Egg are owned by the DeCoster family, which has a string of agribusiness interests in the Midwest and Northeast.

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

The head of the Food and Drug Administration says the DeCoster farms in Iowa were not operating safely before a salmonella outbreak that led to the recall of more than half a billion eggs.

"There's no question that these farms that are involved in the recall were not operating with the standards of practice that we consider responsible," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told CNN Sunday night.

Hamburg did not elaborate on the problems that FDA investigators have found, but agency officials said last week that the outbreak could have been prevented if regulations that took effect July 9 had been in place earlier. The regulations include testing, sanitation and refrigeration requirements for egg operations and allow the FDA to start inspecting farms for compliance.

...and why wasn't this testing being done? The regulations for testing are only "suggested" guidelines. Violations only occur if people get sick. So much for the FDA's mission statement of promoting and safeguarding the public health.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -- Dr. Seuss

The eggs in question were sold between May 16th and Aug. 13th. On Aug.14th, Wright County Egg announced its recall. Eggs affected carry Julian dates from 136 to 225 (May16th to Aug 13th) and the Plant numbers: P-1026, P-1413, and P-1943. The Julian date follows the plant# on the carton -- P-1026 136 (plant#1026, day 136 of the year -- May16th).

Stores and companies that have sold and private labeled these eggs include:

  • Albertson's
  • Ralph's
  • Lucerne
  • Mountain Dairy
  • Boomsma's
  • Sunshine
  • Hillandale
  • Trafficanda
  • Farm Fresh
  • Shoreland, Lund
  • Dutch Farms
  • Kemp

The CDC says that 200 cases (36,000 eggs) of salmonella eggs were reported weekly in recent months around the country.

A good question to ask would be why is this only now being reported, if it has been occurring for months? Certainly, 1200 people and their attorneys will be asking the same question. How many thousands of others were sickened by these mass-produced eggs, but dismissed their illness as something else?

Although the chance of an egg containing Salmonella Enteritidis is rare in the United States, at mass-production facilities like Wright County Egg, the odds increase dramatically to the recent high of 36,000 eggs per week.

"When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad... You should do what I do." -- Dr. Seuss

Solutions:

Shop locally. Buy organic, farm fresh, free-range eggs. Good sources are Farmer's Markets and Co-ops. Chances are that you'll be eating an egg that was laid today, as opposed to 3 weeks ago.

http://www.localharvest.org/
http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose." -- Dr. Seuss

"You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you will be the guy who'll decide where you'll go. Oh the places you'll go." -- Dr. Seuss

Around the Web

Egg recall has some changing buying, eating habits

Eggs in the raw? Experts say give them a pass

Purdue expert: Egg cooling prevents salmonella

How To Stay Safe During The Egg Recalls

New Food-Safety Rules Come Amid Egg Probe

Egg recall reaches Michigan, but no cases yet of salmonella poisoning

SALMONELLA SCARE: Recall leads to more sales for local egg producers

EGG CONTROVERSY: Branstad calls Iowa businessman "Bad Egg"

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