Health experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sent out a few helpful hacks for identifying potential Salmonella exposure after more than 206 million eggs were recalled nearly a month ago.
Since the April 16 recall, 35 people have been infected with the Braenderup Salmonella strain in Colorado and eight states along the East Coast of the US – 11 of whom have had to go to the hospital. Eggs containing the bacteria were sold under the brand names of Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Crystal Farms, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, Publix, Sunshine Farms, and Sunups.
So what should you be on the lookout for? Each carton of eggs has three numbers on the short side of the packaging that you should familiarize yourself with. The first being the “plant number”, which looks like a P followed by numbers and shows where the eggs were produced. Next to it, there should also be a Julian date, which shows when the eggs were packaged. Lastly, take a look at the “sell-by” date, which tells you when the eggs should have been purchased by. Eggs are usually kept within three to five weeks of that date. If you think you might have contaminated eggs, look for the plant number P-1359D with a Julian date of 048A or 049A, or a plant number of P-1065 and a Julian date of 011 and 102.
The CDC says to throw away recalled eggs or return them to the store you purchased them at for a refund. Wash and sanitize any areas where the recalled eggs were stored by using a solution of chlorine bleach and hot water, follow directions on the label.
To avoid Salmonella exposure, make sure eggs are cooked until both the yolk and whites firm – including scrambled eggs – either when eating at home or in a restaurant. Use soap and water to wash your hands and anything that has come into contact with raw eggs.
The CDC recommends contacting a healthcare provider if you think you may have become sick from eating recalled eggs. Most people develop the symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed.
Salmonella infections are most commonly associated with eggs, meat, and poultry but can contaminate fruits and vegetables. An infection usually occurs when people eat foods contaminated with animal or human feces carrying the bacteria.