Organic is not necessarily safer.
The choice is more about the quality of the egg.
Check your refrigerator! Two new egg brands added to recall list:
(CNN) — Egg eaters have two new brand names to search for in their refrigerators Thursday because of the nationwide salmonella scare sparked by egg recalls.
Wright County Egg, the company responsible for 380 million of the 550 million recalled eggs, said in a press release Wednesday night that it had confirmed cases of Salmonella enteritidis illnesses related to shell eggs bearing the Cardenas Market brand and Cardenas Market was beginning a voluntary recall.
The statement said affected eggs were distributed to Cardenas Market stores in California and Nevada, packaged in 60-egg cases over-wrapped with plastic. Although the Cardenas Market label wasn’t named in Wright County’s original August 13 recall announcement, Cardenas was immediately notified at the time of the original recall, and product in distribution or in stores has been quarantined, returned or destroyed, Wright County said.
Eggs included in the recall are labeled with plant number 1026 and Julian dates ranging from 136 to 228.
Dates and codes can be found printed on the label. The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1026 228.
In addition, Trafficanda Egg Ranch released a statement saying it had confirmed Salmonella enteritidis illnesses from May 17, 2010, to August 17, 2010, relating to its Wright County-supplied shell eggs.
The Trafficanda Egg Ranch-branded eggs were distributed to grocery stores and food-service companies in California in 12-egg cartons, 20-egg over-wrapped packages, and 60-egg over-wrapped packages with the Julian dates ranging from 136 to 229 and plant numbers 1026, 1413, 1720, 1942 and1946.
Both recall notices came through the Egg Safety Center, which is run by United Egg Producers, a trade group that describes itself as a cooperative of egg farmers from all across the United States, representing the ownership of approximately 95 percent of all the nation’s egg-laying hens.
As public health officials across the country look into the salmonella outbreak that began in the spring, the state of California believes it has identified its earliest cases — and says its investigation helped tip off the rest of the country to the source of the problem.
On May 28 and 29, several people became sick after attending either a prom or a graduation party in Santa Clara County, according to Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Tests on some of the victims, including a catering worker who nibbled on the food, determined that the culprit was salmonella, she said.
That finding triggered an investigation. By interviewing prom- and party-goers about what they had eaten, the Santa Clara County Health Department found at least one common link — a delicate custard-filled pastry called profiteroles that was served at both events. According to Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Health, the caterer had run out of pasteurized filler, and made the rest of the fillings with shell eggs.
Throughout June and early July, county officials noted more clusters of two or more salmonella cases. In all, 42 people in Santa Clara County tested positive for salmonella, including six who ended up in the hospital, Alexiou said.
Similar clusters were popping up all over California, including four in San Diego County — one traced to a Korean restaurant — and another incident involving food served on a movie set in Los Angeles, an incident under investigation by Los Angeles County.
In Santa Clara County, investigators were faced with a dilemma. Because the link to eggs didn’t emerge for several weeks after people fell ill, there were no eggs left to test. Local investigators relied on interviews with food preparers and companies to draw a trail back to a company in Iowa: Wright County Egg. In other counties, too, the trail led in the same direction, according to health officials.
On July 29, the California Department of Health sent a notice to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, warning of a connection to Wright County Egg. Sicilia said the alert helped confirm the suspicions of officials in other states who were also investigating a surge in salmonella cases.
California is just one of 23 states that received eggs potentially contaminated by salmonella from Wright County Egg or Hillandale Farms of Iowa, the distributors at the center of the recall of more than half a billion eggs.
As the federal government investigates the egg recall and the related salmonella outbreak that it says has sickened about 1,300 Americans, the regulatory process is coming under scrutiny.
Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday the investigation took a while because of its complexity.
“The clusters were very small. Two or three patients here, two or three patients there.” Frieden also indicated the organism and its DNA fingerprint are common, making it harder to isolate.
It took weeks to determine the illnesses came from eggs and the producers who shipped them, he told the Atlanta Press Club.
Frieden, who indicated federal, state and local health agencies are better now at working together, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new egg safety measures, along with a stalled food safety bill, are essential. “I think the major focus has to be prevention.”
Speaking on a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said federal regulations that took effect in July could have prevented the situation.
The new regulations went into effect July 9 requiring egg producers with more than 3,000 hens to take measures designed to prevent the spread of salmonella. The current outbreak began in May and was traced to two Iowa farms, according to the FDA.
Wright County Egg has recalled 380 million eggs; the other, Hillandale Farms, recalled 170 million eggs.
“We believe that had these rules been in place at an earlier time, it would have very likely enabled us to identify the problems on this farm before this kind of outbreak occurred,” Hamburg said.
While FDA inspectors typically didn’t inspect farms until after an outbreak of illness, Jeff Farrar, the associate commissioner for food safety at the FDA, said under the new rule, “We will be beginning routine inspections of egg farms throughout the United States.”
Farrar would not release details of the inspections, which also involve a third operation that supplied the two egg producers, but the results could be released later this week, he said.
While the recall involves hundreds of millions of eggs, they represent less than 1 percent of the 80 billion eggs produced in the United States each year, said Krista Eberle, director of the food safety program at the Egg Safety Center.
But even that risk level is too high for some restaurant patrons in Michigan, the 23rd, and most recently-added, state on the list of those receiving tainted eggs.
“It makes you not even want to order or buy the eggs,” Audrey Karas, a customer at a Big Boy in Warren, Michigan, told CNN affiliate WDIV. Big Boy uses eggs unaffected by the recall. “It makes you uneasy about buying eggs, even if they are supposed to be safe.”
CNN’s Phil Gast and Senior Medical Producer Caleb Hellerman contributed to this report.