Tuesday, January 25, 2011
UPDATE ON THOSE SALMONELLA EGGS
A few days ago, a friend asked me how we know that a food recall is over or "finished."That was a very sensible question from someone I consider to be one of my most sensible friends.
From what I have observed, the FDA and USDA (whichever one oversees that particular recalled food) posts an update to say the recall is now complete. But, notices are not posted all the time. Other times the product just quietly goes back into the food supply.
And don't think it is just a matter of days: often the recall of a contaminated food is not finished for months, or even a year, as one after another food product is affected. This is particularly the case when the contaminated item is used as an ingredient in a number of foods - as in the case of nuts, powdered milk, or something similar. At times, of course, the companies have to do time-consuming cleanups, and even to close down plants for a while.
By the way, another friend asked: "What happened to those egg producers in Iowa? Don't tell me they are back in the market." Yes, they are. For a while they were only allowed to send eggs for processing into liquid egg product (which is pasteurized, and therefore safe). Then Hillandale Farms was cleared for selling shell eggs again. About four months after the recall started (end of November, 2010), Wright County Egg was also given the "all clear." So yes, we are now eating their eggs again. But hopefully, a little safer than they were before. At least the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says they are.
To quote the Commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg: "During the outbreak, I said that FDA would not agree to the sale of eggs to consumers from Wright County Egg until we had confidence that they could be shipped and consumed safely. After four months of intensive work by the company and oversight, testing, and inspections by FDA, I am satisfied that time has come."
But don't hold your breath. Salmonella has a nasty habit of doing repeat appearances. It is safer to just cook your eggs well.