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Aug 18, 2010 10:22 AM

Millions of eggs recalled in salmonella outbreak

...federal government reports a multi-state outbreak of salmonella.

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  1. Suddenly my elitist preference for local free range eggs does not seem so ridiculous.

    1 Reply
    1. re: small h

      I hear you! Just started buying local pastured eggs 2 months ago...but I must say, Nature's Harvest eggs with Omega 3's has a pretty damned good amount of Omega 3's for a regular egg! Guess I'll stick with the local goods!

    2. I was glad to read that the company is sending the remainder of its eggs to a company that will pasteurize them so they can be used (presumably by companies manufacturing processed foods). Since sufficient heating (I've read different temps, from 130-160F) renders them safe, it's a shame that so much of this food is being discarded. IMO, in this type of circumstance, there should be a warning not to consume them raw or undercooked, rather than a complete recall.

      2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          What I read (at USDA, I think) was a warning not to consume uncooked or undercooked. Just the same, there was the recall, but I think that was about PR more than anything else. So many people do their eggs soft, so my guess is nobody wanted to take any chances. We had a good 6 of the "tainted" eggs hard-boiled before hearing of the recall. Perfectly safe and very tasty, too. Sadly, we were hard-boiled out after that so, being runny yolk people, the rest had to go.

        2. Oh darn! This outbreak comes right before I was going to start making some ice cream using Ben & Jerry's recipes from their book this weekend. They don't cook their eggs. Now I'm nervous about it.

          Is there such a thing as liquid pasturized whole egg that I can buy in the supermarket? Or get some of the pasturized whole eggs? I don't think I've ever seen either of these items for sale.

          Do these products act the same in an ice cream recipe?

          9 Replies
          1. re: heidip732

            Yes, you can buy pasteurized eggs in the shell. There's only one supplier, though, as the pasteurization process is patented:


            The brand name is Davidson's. There's a store search engine on the site.

            No clue on how they'd be in ice cream, though.

            1. re: romansperson

              Thanks, I checked them out. They aren't distributed in NJ yet. I guess I'll just have to cook my custard for now to stay safe. Too bad for lazy me who wants easy ice cream, fast!

            2. re: heidip732

              I'm confused...why would you rather buy pasturised eggs when you could buy local, free-range organic eggs?! The article specifically names generic mass-produced/packaged eggs, but if you bought from a local farmer, your chances of getting salmonella is very slim.

              Also, when we make ice cream, we always make a cooked custard. It takes a little while longer, but it does cook the eggs to a safe level AND it tastes better AND it has a better texture. Win, win win. I'm sure it would only improve the recipe if you cooked it as you would a custard. You can also afford to stop earlier with a thinner texture than if you were using it as a custard "sauce" so there's not as much danger of it curdling.

              1. re: guster4lovers

                You are assuming that heidip732 has ready access to "local, free-range organic" - there aren't "local" farms everywhere, and not all supermarkets offer organic eggs.

                1. re: guster4lovers

                  From what I've heard, the salmonella is carried IN the chickens, it's not something that is on the outside of the egg. And our testing in this country isn't really all that sensitive for seeing which chckens carry salmonella. So, why would free range, organic eggs be assumed to be salmonella free? Even if I knew of someone who had a small egg farm nearby (and I don't), I think that their eggs would be suspect too.

                  I have made ice cream before, and used a cooked custard. I'm very pleased with those results. So much better than store bought! But I just bought the Ben & Jerry's recipe book, and thought I would give them a try. But none of their eggs are cooked. That's what prompted my question about pasturized, liquid, whole eggs.

                  1. re: heidip732

                    The people I buy my eggs from buy hens from producers who test for salmonella.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      That's great! There's just so much information, and it's just gotten so complicated! Who'd a thunk, I mean, it's an egg!! Jeesh!

                    2. re: heidip732

                      As pikawicca mentioned, there are small egg farms that routinely test for salmonella, which helps. Small producers also generally (though not always) have better/healthier living conditions for their hens, which means they are less likely to get salmonella in the first place since they are in a less crowded space and have more room to roam and get away from their own waste. Of course, you have to have access to a source of small farm eggs, and not everyone does.

                      1. re: mpjmph

                        I guess I'll have to check out who's at the next farmer's market in town. No real access here, as far as I know.

                2. Sadly it seems a lot of the contaminated eggs ended up in restaurants, so it's harder for consumers to know what they're getting. The health dept in the next county over just determined that a salmonella outbreak over the summer linked to the oldest restaurant in town was due Wright County eggs used in pie meringue.

                  1. The owner of the chicken farm, Jack DeCoster, seems like a real piece of work. Being a self-made man and based what I read, I get the impression that laws and ethical treatment of his workers and the chickens only get in the way of the bottom line - making money.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: dave_c

                      I didn't know DeCoster owned Wright. That makes sense. There was plenty of scandal over the DeCoster egg farm in Maine.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        The LA times article reminds me why we only buy free-range. Five hens in that cage is wrong. I don't care if it is better than the legal's still animal abuse.

                        1. re: guster4lovers

                          The reason for the outbreak being traced to restaurants is, probably, commercial kitchens use more raw egg products than consumers. As long as you cook your eggs there is almost no risk.
                          My problem with factory produced eggs is the growing conditions, 3 tier racks of laying cages, hens jammed into the cage barely able to move; and, if I am a hen how do I say "Give me a cage on the top tier", life on the other lower rows isn't too pleasant with your upstairs neighbor pooping on you. Not to mention the ease of spreading pathogens etc. in such concentrated living conditions.
                          I hunt, fish and eat what I harvest, so PETA does not reside here; but there is ethical treatment and horrible treatment of farm/food animals; I try and support local growers of bee, pork and poultry when it is available. Eggs are always free range/organic from a farmer where I can see how he produces his eggs.

                      2. re: dave_c

                        There was an article in today's paper about DeCoster's legal battles in Maryland when he had an egg facility there in the 1990's . Interesting tale of conflicting regulations/jurisdictions.