Thursday, August 19, 2010

380 Million eggs recalled

I read an article yesterday afternoon saying that an Iowa egg producer is recalling 228 million eggs after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning. The number recalled eggs has grown to 380 million as of last night. Please check the news article for more detail.

According to the Associated Press;
"The Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention said eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, were linked to several illnesses in Colorado, California and Minnesota. The CDC said about 200 cases of the strain of salmonella linked to the eggs were reported weekly during June and July, four times the normal number of such occurrences.

State health officials say tainted eggs have sickened at least 266 Californians and seven in Minnesota.

The eggs were distributed around the country and packaged under the names Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp.

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating.

In a statement, company officials said the FDA is "on-site to review records and inspect our barns." The officials said they began the recall Aug. 13.

The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems."

That's scary. Those of us who know how unsanitary and inhumane factory egg farms are would say, no wonder! The egg laying hens are usually kept in small wire cages with their pals. 80% of them have injuries to their feet from the wires. Time for antibiotics! It's so crowded that they don't have a room to spread their wings. It's a very stressful situation to the chickens, which causes them to fight with each other. The solution? The farmers de-beak the chickens, which is very painful to them. More antibiotics, maybe? Where do the lay their eggs? In the same cage where they drop their droppings. The cages are sloped so the eggs roll out for the collection. (The whole thing is so disgusting that I don't want to provide any images here on my blog.)

There are a few better options if you don't want to go vegan. The best would be to buy eggs from a local organic farm where you can visit and pick up your own eggs. The second best is to buy organic eggs from the local farmer's market. The third best is to buy certified organic eggs from the grocery stores. An 'organic' egg farm has to comply with very high standards of animal welfare besides being organic. Unfortunately, the cost of organic eggs are 3-5 times of regular eggs.

What about "free-range" eggs? When I hear the word "free-range", the image that comes to my mind is something like this. (The image is taken from Country Flavours' in UK.) I really hope that "free-range" eggs come from those happy roaming chickens.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no standards for what should be labeled as "free-range". In reality, the egg you paid extra money can come from something like this (The image is taken from Wikipedia.) Although, it still looks much, much better than commercial egg farms.

Also, free-range does not mean that the hens were fed any differently than on normal, commercial farms. They can be fed animal-derived byproducts or GMO crops and given unnecessary antibiotics.

Going organic or  to just stop eating eggs seems like a good option to me. What about you?


  1. When I was a kid I worked 3 days moving chickens that were too old to lay eggs. It was the most horrifying experience!

  2. Do you still eat eggs, Sarah?