Just for the health of it
In August, two farms in Iowa were found to be the source of a salmonella outbreak that affected approximately 2,000 individuals in 14 different states and caused the recall of nearly half a billion eggs. Salmonella Enteritidis was the culprit.
Symptoms of salmonella can occur within 8 to 72 hours after ingestion of contaminated food and can include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. The course of the illness generally lasts 4 to 7 days. Salmonella can be life threatening in those who already have a weakened immune system.
Unlike the salmonella associated with eggs in past decades, which was due to contaminated shells, Salmonella Enteritidis resides within the ovaries of infected chickens. Infected eggs can come from apparently healthy hens. The bacteria can be found in disinfected grade A egg and passed to consumers who then can be infected if the egg is not cooked thoroughly.
The CDC also recommends that eggs be constantly refrigerated until the time of consumption and that eggs be eaten promptly after cooking or discarded after sitting out for two or more hours.
So how did the salmonella scare of August impact Luther? Consumption of eggs did not seem to be impacted and no strong concerns were voiced. Luther buys eggs locally from farms within 100 miles of Decorah. This might seem reassuring, but Iowa does not have an Egg Quality Assurance Program.
Egg Quality Assurance Programs act as a way to safeguard consumers from such salmonella outbreaks by having strict standards and screenings of egg farms, and have been proven to greatly decrease the occurrence of salmonella illnesses in the United States. Pennsylvania was the first state to initiate such a program, which was used as the framework for the FDA’s new standards that came into effect in July, too late for the farms in Iowa but in time to prevent similar cases.
As always, people have to take their health into their own hands and be cautious of raw or undercooked eggs. Be aware that raw eggs can be found in such favorites as homemade ice cream, eggnog, cookie dough, hollandaise sauce and Caesar salad dressing.