We’ve been regularly updating you on the ongoing egg recall that has sickened 1,300 people, with posts on how salmonella contaminates eggs, the recall’s scope and why going organic is your best choice.
Here’s the latest news wrap-up:
- More Recalls Issued. As expected, more distributors that purchased eggs from Wright County Egg have issued recalls. Fullerton, Calif.-based Luberski Inc. recently recalled eggs distributed to food wholesalers, retail centers and food service companies in California and Nevada; no retail cartons were involved. In addition, Fontana, Calif.-based Moark, LLC, Monday recalled approximately 291,600 eggs sold to retail stores.
- Full Recall List Now Available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has compiled a master list of recalled egg brands, which will be updated regularly.
- Fears Driving Consumers to Farmers’ Markets. Hallelujah. Mainstream consumers may finally begin to appreciate family farmers.
- Guidelines for Cooking Eggs Emphasized. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reminding consumers to cook eggs thoroughly. This means scrambled eggs should be cooked until firm, not runny. If you’re frying, poaching, boiling or baking eggs, cook them until both the whites and yolks are firm. And if you’re using eggs in casseroles, cook the dish until the internal temperature reaches 160°F; use a food thermometer to verify.
- FDA Commissioner Speaks Out.Margaret Hamburg, MD, who this week appeared on several network morning shows, says egg-safety laws that took effect in July could have prevented this crisis. She’s now pushing for passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which has yet to receive a full Senate vote. But some critics believe FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigations are inadequate. Food, Inc. producer Robert Kenner continues to call attention to the dangers of factory farms.
- Wright County Egg Owner Called “Corporate Criminal.” Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, reveals that Wright County Egg owner Jack DeCoster’s “malfeasance reaches back for decades, but he seems to regard fines as the cost of doing business.” Check out Reich’s blog for The Christian Science Monitor.
- Congress Is Getting Busy. Thanks to several congressional activists—Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)—our elected officials have launched an investigation into safety protocols and violations (environmental, health, safety, animal cruelty). As DeLauro noted in a press statement:
“This urgent nationwide recall is very disturbing, not only because it appears to have been preventable, but it also may have been the result of an inefficient and unresponsive food safety system. Given the split jurisdiction between FDA and USDA over ensuring the safety of eggs, I fear the investigation and subsequent recall may have been delayed as FDA traced the source of the contamination.
“Because USDA is responsible for egg safety at processing plants, it is troubling that FDA is the lead agency in this investigation, even though it has never inspected the Wright County Egg facility. Instead of reinforcing each other’s work, the current food safety system of split jurisdiction appears to have resulted in a disjointed inspection process.
“It has never been more clear that Congress needs to pass FDA food safety legislation this year that will increase inspections at high-risk facilities, establish performance standards for reducing foodborne pathogens and grant FDA mandatory recall authority. This bill, combined with the FDA egg safety rule that went into effect July 9, could have prevented or minimized this salmonella outbreak.
“In the long term, we must create a single food safety agency that consolidates the work that is currently splintered across 15 federal agencies. One agency focused exclusively on protecting our food supply would prevent jurisdictional confusion, result in an efficient and responsive food safety system, and diminish the potential for future outbreaks such as this one.”