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US salmonella update: 13 popular egg brands recalled

Only shell eggs, not other egg products produced by Wright County Eggs, are involved in the recall. Customers should not consume the eggs in question and should return them in the original carton to where they were purchased for a full refund.

Health authorities in the United States have started investigating an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning in counties across the nation. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eggs produced by an Iowa company are responsible for spreading potentially deadly salmonella poisoning.

The eggs in question have now been recalled, and the CDC has warned consumers to avoid eating in-shell eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa in order to lower their risk of salmonella infection.

Eggs are the culprit
According to the CDC, eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, were linked to several illnesses in Colorado, California and Minnesota.

The outbreak of salmonella, which has sickened hundreds of people since May, has prompted a nationwide recall of eggs in the United States, according to a report by USAToday.

Experts at the CDC say the problem has now been tracked to in-shell eggs from the Galt, Iowa-based company, Wright County Egg, which sell their products to a number of brand names.

Details of eggs in question
The company, which has voluntarily launched the recall, is recalling 228 million eggs from its 13 popular egg brands, which include Albertson, Lucerne, Sunshine, Mountain Dairy, Dutch Farms, Ralph’s, Hillandale, Boomsma’s, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund and Kemps.

The outbreak of salmonella, which has sickened hundreds of people since May, has prompted a nationwide recall of eggs in the United States, according to a report by USAToday.

The egg company says that the eggs in question were shipped to wholesalers, distribution centers, and food-service companies in only 8 states, which are California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The eggs are packaged from May 16 through Aug. 13 in different sizes of cartons, from 6-egg cartons, dozen-egg cartons to 18-egg cartons, says the company.

The potentially contaminated eggs come in packages stamped with one of these three plant numbers: P1026, P1413 and P1946.

Only shell eggs, not other egg products produced by Wright County Eggs, are involved in the recall.

Customers should not consume the eggs in question and should return them in the original carton to where they were purchased for a full refund.

The outbreak sickened many since May
Since May, 38 people in Santa Clara County and at least 266 people across the state have been hospitalized after eating contaminated eggs.

The CDC noticed a surge in cases involving a particular strain of salmonella. The federal agency said that in late June and early July about 200 cases of the strain of salmonella linked to the eggs were reported weekly, which was about four times the seasonal average.

An investigation by federal and state public health and agriculture officials then traced a strain of salmonella back to eggs distributed by Wright County Egg, in Galt, Iowa.

Probe is on
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the egg company, and currently has teams on site at Wright County Egg, says FDA spokeswoman Patricia El-Hinnawy.

Meanwhile, Wright County Egg has said that it "is fully cooperating with the FDA's investigation by undertaking this voluntary recall."

About Salmonella
Salmonella is a kind of rod-shaped Gram-negative enterobacteria that causes typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and food-borne illnesses like bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

It can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, weak or aged people, and others with deteriorated immune systems.

The illness can begin anywhere from 12-72 hours from eating the contaminated foods and can last four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment.

There are nearly 2,500 kinds of salmonella. Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to tomatoes periodically. A 2004 outbreak that sickened more than 400 people was linked to tomatoes sold in Sheetz convenience stores.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that is passed to humans from animals, including poultry, cattle, pigs, and domestic animals.

Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Healthy people generally recover without treatment, but salmonella can kill the very young, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

How to prevent salmonella from spreading?
As the Salmonella bacterium spreads through contact with animal feces or consumption of food tainted with animal feces, people should avoid feeding their pets in the kitchen.

Also, washing hands thoroughly after handling pet food or treats, washing pet bowls at an area other than kitchen sinks or bathtubs, and disposing pet feces carefully can help cut infections.

Children younger than age 5 should be kept away from pet food and feeding areas. And parents should avoid bathing their infants in areas where pet bowls are washed.