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DSHS Advises Consumers to Heed Recall of Wright County Shell Eggs

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News Release
August 19, 2010

Consumers, food preparers reminded to cook eggs thoroughly

The Department of State Health Services is advising consumers not to eat Wright County Eggs because they may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, bacteria that may cause serious health problems.

On Aug. 13 Wright County Egg company issued a voluntary recall on eggs from its facility in Galt, Iowa. Wright County eggs are shipped to Texas by way of one or more intermediary distributors. Wright County Eggs are packaged under various brand names. A complete list can be found at the FDA website: www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/.

DSHS and local health departments are collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Food and Drug Administration and public health officials in many states to investigate Salmonella Enteritidis infections, a foodborne diarrheal illness. Some of these cases may be associated with Wright County Egg Company that distributes eggs nationally.

Since mid-May there have been more than 150 Salmonella Enteritidis infections in more than 40 counties throughout the state. Investigation is ongoing to determine if Wright County Egg products are linked to the illnesses. DSHS and local health departments are working to identify specific retailers that may sell Wright County Farm eggs. No Texas farm produced eggs have been implicated in this outbreak.

Consumers who believe they may have purchased the recalled shell eggs should not eat them and should discard the eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in recipes where the egg may not be cooked thoroughly such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing.

A person infected with Salmonella Enteritidis usually has fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food or beverage and lasting 4 to 7 days. In the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems more serious illness or even death may occur.

A consumer’s best protection against Salmonellosis is safe food handling and cooking. People can reduce the risk of Salmonella Enteritidis infection from eggs by doing the following:

  • Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated at ≤ 45˚ F (≤7˚ C) at all times.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Eat eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that calls for raw eggs.
  • If you are not sure about a menu item, ask your server if includes raw or undercooked unpasteurized eggs.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and person with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness. Pasteurized eggs should be used.

Other ways to avoid Salmonellosisfrom eggs include:
Prevent cross-contamination.

  • Keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods.
  • Use a different cutting board for meat, poultry, and seafood items, if possible.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after contact with raw eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Do not place cooked food on a plate that held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

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(News Media Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7511)

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Last updated December 27, 2013