Written by Taylor Newman, MS/DI student | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD
You might have heard about the recent food recalls with worries about E coli in romaine lettuce and salmonella in eggs. What’s going on, and should you be worried?
What is E. coli?
Read all about E coli on our previous blog, “What is E. coli and how do I protect myself?”
Tell me about the E. coli outbreak.
Eighty-four people have been infected with E. coli in 19 states due to contaminated romaine lettuce from a farm in Yuma, Arizona. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending consumers not to eat or buy any romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the contaminated area in Arizona (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018a).
Cases of the outbreak have been confirmed in Georgia with reports of people getting ill. Keep in mind that labels do not often include where food is grown and that romaine can be found in salad mixes as well. If you cannot confirm where the romaine was grown, avoid it all together.
What about the salmonella outbreak?
According to the CDC, 23 people have been infected by a Salmonella outbreak as of April 13th, 2018 due to contaminated eggs from Rose Acre Farms’ Hyde County farm in North Carolina. Over 200 million eggs have since been recalled Rose Acre Farms. Consumers in the following states have been infected:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
While Georgia is not on that list, three states that border Georgia (Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina) are.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes people to get sick. Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).
Where does Salmonella come from?
- “Contaminated eggs, poultry, meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables (alfalfa sprouts, melons), spices, and nuts” (Foodsafety.gov)
· Animals and their environment:
- “Particularly reptiles (snakes, turtles, lizards), amphibians (frogs), birds (baby chicks) and pet food and treats.”(Foodsafety.gov)
What are the signs and symptoms of food poisoning by Salmonella?
Salmonella typically causes diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most individuals who become ill recover without medical treatment. However, extreme diarrhea can cause hospitalization. In some cases, Salmonella can be deadly (Foodsafety.gov).
Who is at risk of Salmonella infection?
The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have severe symptoms (Foodsafety.gov). For more information about salmonella, visit the CDC’s website.
Are all eggs being recalled?
The recalled eggs were sold under multiple names, including:
- Coburn Farms
- Country Daybreak
- Food Lion
- Great Value
- Sunshine Farms
Some of the recalled egg products are featured in the photos below. For more photos of recalled egg brands, check out the FDA website.
I purchased eggs from one of the brands listed above. Does that mean my eggs are contaminated with salmonella?
Not necessarily. The CDC is telling consumers to check for eggs with plant number P-1065 and a packaging date, also called a “Julian” date, between 011 and 102, or plant number P-1359D and Julian date 048A or 049A with Best By dates of APR 02 and APR 03 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018b). Follow the USDA’s example of how to read an egg carton below. Note: The egg carton in the picture is not one of the recalled egg cartons.
I confirmed that my eggs are included in the recall. What do I do now?
- The CDC is warning consumers to not eat any of the recalled eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms’ Hyde County farm.
- Throw them away or return them to the store they were purchased at to receive a refund.
- Wash and sanitize the drawers or shelves in your refrigerators where the recalled eggs were stored. The CDC recommends these five steps to clean your refrigerator. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018b)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, 2018). What is salmonella? Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018a). Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-04-18/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018b). Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup Infections Linked to Rose Acre Farms Shell Eggs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/braenderup-04-18/index.html
Foodsafety.gov. Salmonella. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/salmonella/index.html
Salmonella bacteria original photo source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Egg carton original photo source