Preventing salmonella: Nationwide recall prompts discussion on egg safety

CLAYVILLE, N.Y.-- More then 200 million eggs have been recalled nationally over suspicion of a possible salmonella outbreak.

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 7:14 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2018 7:23 PM

CLAYVILLE, N.Y.-- More then 200 million eggs have been recalled nationally over suspicion of a possible salmonella outbreak.

Rose Acre Farms in North Carolina provides eggs to Walmart, Food Lion, and other retailers (for a complete list of the affected eggs, click here).

Local shoppers are concerned their household staples are becoming increasingly unsafe.

"You just don't know anymore," Susan Hawes, who recently bought eggs at Walmart said. "The dilemma is do you take them back or use them and hope for the best?"

"My husband, he goes through six eggs a day," Courtney Haas, another shopper said. "They're a big part of our family. All of us eat it, so I mean, it's definitely a concern."

Oliver Aeschliman is a local egg farmer who raises, cleans, packages and transports his own eggs.

He claims the laws on the books to protect eggs only make them more susceptible to salmonella.

"Eggs are porous," Aeschliman said. "The chickens, they put a natural sealant around the eggs and that's their way in nature of keeping the bacteria out. It is law in the United States that we need to wash our eggs. You take that film, that natural film off the eggs."

Aeschliman said eggshells that sit for long periods of time become more and more porous. 

"So now you're exposing those eggs to whatever's in the environment, sitting in warehouses for months on end," Aeschliman said. "If they're transporting them all over, just them getting old, it makes a big difference as well.  Buying the freshest eggs is going to help you prolong the life of that egg."

Salmonella in humans often occurs when raw meats, unpasteurized dairy, unwashed vegetables and raw eggs are consumed.

"If you like your eggs when they're not fully cooked, there's always going to be a risk," said Rebecca LaPorte, Communicable Disease Coordinator with the Oneida County Health Department.

Symptoms can come on quickly or take up to a week to manifest. 

"The average is like hours to three days," LaPorte said. "Usually, we tell people who have salmonella they probably picked it up in the seven days before they start having symptoms. Generally, the first thing they notice is they have pretty bad diarrhea. A lot of people also get fevers, they get very dehydrated."

LaPorte said a long duration of repeated diarrhea is the main hallmark of the illness.

"If it's lasting more than a day, you should see your health care provider," LaPorte said.

The bacteria, when present in animals, is not dangerous to their health.

"Reptiles, chickens, these are all animals that can have it in their digestive tract," LaPorte said. "Just like you and I have our natural flora, they have their natural flora."

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