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FDA is collaborating with Federal and state partners to investigate a nationwide increase of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) infections. Partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state public health and agriculture officials.
Joint FDA/CDC field investigation teams are working to identify potential sources of SE infection in shell eggs.
Investigation of the Outbreak
Since May 2010, CDC has identified a nationwide, four-fold increase in the number of SE isolates through PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories. CDC received reports of approximately 200 SE cases every week during late June and early July. Normally, CDC has received an average of some 50 reports of SE illness each week for the past five years. Many states have also reported increases of this pattern since May 2010.
Epidemiologic investigations conducted by public health officials in California, Colorado, and Minnesota have revealed several restaurants or events where more than one person ill with this type of SE has eaten. Preliminary information from these investigations suggests that shell eggs are the likely source of infections in many of these restaurants or events.
FDA, CDC, and state partners conducted a traceback investigation and found many of these restaurants or events received shell eggs from a single firm, Wright County Egg, in Galt, Iowa. FDA is currently conducting an extensive investigation at the firm in Iowa. The investigation involves sampling, records review and looking for potential sources of contamination, such as feed. As the investigation continues, updates will be made available.
On August 13th, 2010, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, conducted a nationwide voluntary recall of shell eggs that it had shipped since May 19th, 2010 to food wholesalers, distribution centers and foodservice companies in California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. These companies distribute nationwide.
The recalled shell eggs 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.
State and local partners are also investigating human Salmonella infections in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
SE infections can be very serious, even life-threatening, especially to the very young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Infected people may experience
Some infected people may suffer from severe illness, arthritis, or even death.
Eggs can become contaminated on the farm because a laying hen can become infected with SE and pass the bacteria into the egg before it is laid. If the egg is not refrigerated, the bacteria can grow inside the uncracked, whole egg.
FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture carried out a series of egg safety efforts during the 1990s. These efforts focused on refrigeration to limit the growth of bacteria that may be inside an egg. Although these efforts made it harder for the bacteria to grow, they did not prevent the eggs from becoming contaminated initially on the farm. Through the measures spelled out in the new regulation, which address controlling the bacteria on the farm, SE will be reduced in the poultry house and consequently in the eggs themselves.
Information for Consumers
Information for Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments
Information for Shell Egg Producers
For More Information
Playing It Safe, What Consumers Need to Know, from FDA.
TopicsAlbertson, Arizona, Boomsma’s, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Connecticut, Dutch Farms, Farm Fresh, FDA, Hillandale, Kemps, Lucerne, Lund, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mountain Dairy, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Outbreak, Pennsylvania, PulseNet, Ralph’s, Salmonella Enteritidis, Shell Eggs, Shoreland, Sunshine, Tennessee, Texas, Trafficanda, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USDA, Wright County Egg
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