According to Fox News, 228 million eggs have been recalled after being linked to a multistate outbreak of human Salmonella enteritidis infections associated with shell eggs.
The eggs were packaged under the brands Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp.
The plant numbers printed on the egg cartons are as follows: P-1026, P-1413, AND P-1946. If you see these numbers stamped on the end of an egg carton, followed by the numbers 136 to 225, take the eggs back to the store from which you purchased them.
In my LBC (Life Before Chickens) I never gave two seconds of thought to factory chicken and egg production. But now I’ve read enough to be concerned that CAFs (Concentrated Animal Facilities) in general and factory chicken farming in particular are fearsome operations. Crowding thousands upon thousands of animal into a single facility presents a biosecurity nightmare beyond comprehension, and as you’ve read before on Polloplayer, almost no animals are subjected to more severe crowding conditions than chickens.
According to Science IQ.com http://www.scienceiq.com/Facts/SalmonellaChickenEggs.cfm, “Salmonella enteritidis lives in the feces of many animals, including chickens. Because chickens sit on their eggs, even before they are collected for consumer purchases, the eggs may be subjected to the bacterium. It was found that S. enteritidis could actually penetrate the hard outer shell of the egg and live inside the yolk, where it can reproduce.
In addition, the article states that research has found that “the bacterium could infect hens’ ovaries, and contaminate the egg before it even developed a shell. Also, egg collectors clothing could pick up S. enteritidis from chicken feces, contaminating other chicken houses.”
It doesn’t take much research to connect the dots from factory farming to potential salmonella outbreaks. In a September, 2009 article in the respected medical journal The Lancet quotes a lobbyist for the Canadian poultry factory farming industry as saying “The chickens are raised in their own excrement.” He goes on to explain that this is “because that saves farmers the cost of having to change their litter during the 40 days they spend here before slaughter”. The article, which can be found here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61578-6/fulltext actually focuses on a threat at least as grim as salmonella: the use of antibiotics in factory farming and the resultant link to increased antibiotic resistance in humans.
As Polloplayer readers have learned, we’ve been discarding Hope’s eggs while she was on antibiotics and we will continue to do so for a few weeks until we are certain the antibiotics have passed out of her system. No such luck, however, for anyone eating eggs from factory chickens. The Lancet article states that “the amount of antibiotics that chickens are receiving in North America is a closely guarded secret” so the consumer has no way of knowing the extent of antibiotics present in store-purchased eggs. It’s safe to guess that the amount is far from zero.
Sigh. All the more reason to get chickens!