Egg on your Face: Know the Facts of Salmonella

I have recently started reaping the rewards of my latest venture into home farming – raising chickens for egg production.  I love collecting fresh eggs each morning from my girls and knowing exactly what went into (literally) producing these eggs.  I pride myself on keeping a clean hen house for my girls and ensuring that they are healthy and happy.  I can’t imagine how this process is done on a mass scale.  But it seems inevitably that disease and germs are part of the high production equation.  After all we are talking about animals.

Colorado, California and Minnesota are currently in the midst of an egg recall for fears of a salmonella outbreak.  228 million eggs are affected by this massive recall effort. Check here for a complete list of egg brands that have been recalled and the effective dates of the recall.  These shelled eggs come from a particular egg farm of Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa.

Salmonella is commonly found in raw food products that come from animals such as eggs, meat, unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Salmonella is also spread from an infected person to food products if they fail to wash their hands after using the toilet.

Symptoms of salmonella and campylobacter infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping for 12 — 72 hours after infection. Most people recover after 4-7 days however some may need to be hospitalized. In severe cases of salmonellosis the infection may spread to the blood stream and other body sites that can be fatal.

Eggs have always been a target for fear of salmonella infection.  The truth is that salmonella comes from many sources and in unsuspecting ways.  Below is a sample of some of the blogs posted at iTriageHealth within the last year referring to salmonella poisoning.

Panicky About Poultry was a touch point for many people.  Back in December of 2009 the Consumer Reports released a study indicating that two-thirds of tested chickens purchased at supermarkets nationwide harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food borne disease.  This certainly changed the way we prepare chicken at my house.

Raw or undercooked foods are another channel for salmonella.  Check out How to Keep Your Summer Cookout Bug Free for help to prevent food borne illness from ruining your weekend.  My family complains that I blow torch everything on the grill….you just can’t be too careful.

Even the release of popular Disney movies can increase the risk of salmonella poisoning.  Check out Don’t Kiss Your Frog Prince. Back in December of 2009 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised concerns with the increase in pet frogs and the rise in salmonella in young children with the release of the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog..  The CDC recommended washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any amphibian or reptiles.  They especially recommended against kissing any frogs – good call.

Finally, the most unusual place to find salmonella is attached to many women many hours of the day – your handbag.  Is Your Purse Making You Sick? Salmonella, a germ that is found in feces might be lurking on the outside of your handbag.  Be careful how you handle your purse and where you place it around food.  I can only imagine what is on a fanny pack!

As always it is important to take precautions with food preparation, handling pets, and carrying a handbag.  If you have purchased eggs under the recall dispose of them properly and maybe check into your zoning laws about raising your own chickens for eggs.  Nothing beats a farm (in my case backyard) fresh egg in the morning and they bring a smile to everyone’s face.