Bacterial contamination on modern industrial-scale chicken farms (factories, really) is a growing problem. Cramped conditions are breeding grounds for disease. Widespread use of antibiotics is creating drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Salmonella in eggs only emerged as a problem in the 1980s, several centuries after humans started raising chickens for food. According to the New York Times:
The company behind the recall, Wright County Egg, of Galt, Iowa, is owned by Jack DeCoster, who has had run-ins with regulators over poor or unsafe working conditions, environmental violations, the harassment of workers and the hiring of illegal immigrants.One antidote to the problem of industrialized agriculture is to choose locally sourced eggs from farms that allow their chickens to run free. Though be aware that the label "free range" doesn't mean what you might think.
See a photo tour of a free-range chicken farm.
Here's a list of the brands involved in the egg recall:
Egg Recall List
Egg Recall Numbers
The recalled Eggs are packed in 6- 12- or 18-egg cartons with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton (see photo at right). The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1946 223.
Consumers should not eat the eggs, and should return recalled eggs to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.
Salmonella Poisoning SymptomsWithin 6-to-72 hours of eating an egg, you may experience lower abdominal cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, fever, chills, malaise, nausea or headache. Symptoms may persist for as long as a week. While most people recover without treatment, some patients require hospitalization.
Among the 21,244 cases of foodborne illness reported outbreaks in the United States in 2007 (the last year for which data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Salmonella was the No. 2 cause of illness, causing 27% of foodborne illness outbreaks, including 55% of multi-state outbreaks, and 81 illnesses attributed to Salmonella in eggs; five deaths resulted from Salmonella-contaminated food. The two biggest foodborne illness outbreaks that year were caused by Salmonella, in hummus and frozen pot pies.