Friday, August 20, 2010

Egg recall and Friday menus

As the recall of tainted eggs expands to include new brands and more places, the CDC warns that reports of illnesses linked to this recall may continue to grow:

Iowa's Hillandale Farms said Friday it was recalling its eggs after laboratory tests confirmed illnesses associated with them. The company did not say how many eggs were being recalled or if it is connected to Wright County Egg, another Iowa farm that recalled 380 million eggs earlier this week.

An FDA spokeswoman said the two recalls are related. The strain of salmonella poisoning is the same strain linked to Wright County Egg.

The eggs recalled Friday were distributed under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow, Wholesome Farms and West Creek. The new recall applies to eggs sold between April and August.

Hillandale said the eggs were distributed to grocery distribution centers, retail groceries and food service companies which service or are located in fourteen states, including Arkansas, California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

CDC officials said Thursday that the number of illnesses related to the outbreak is expected to grow. That's because illnesses occurring after mid-July may not be reported yet, said Dr. Christopher Braden, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This has gotten me thinking about lots of different things: food safety, factory farming, our use of antibiotics as a way of keeping large numbers of animals housed in extremely close quarters, and the like. But because it's Friday today, mostly I've been thinking about how much I rely on eggs as a meatless Friday staple.

Whether we have egg sandwiches or hard-boiled eggs for lunch (or today's variation, scrambled eggs placed in soft flour tortillas and sprinkled with shredded cheese) or whether we're cooking up some BFD ("breakfast for dinner"), we frequently eat eggs on Friday. I know a lot of my fellow Catholics do the same. And while I'm blessed with non-picky eaters who will eat lots of other Friday fare, the truth is that it's hard to beat the cost, versatility and convenience of eggs as a Friday meal.

Luckily, the brand of eggs I have on hand right now hasn't been a part of this recall. Unluckily, we forgot all about the impact of the recall the other night, when we went out to eat with some family members who had just arrived from out of town. We went to a restaurant that features eggs and pancakes--and only learned, when we started to order, that the only "eggs" the restaurant could serve that day were the egg substitute products!

Has the recall impacted you, where you are? Has it dropped some of your favorite Friday egg dishes off of the menu temporarily? Or are you one of those lucky people who gets eggs from your own backyard chickens, like this family?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Erin,

The best bet for reliable eggs, if you don't raise your own chickens, is a Certified Organic brand.

Cheap eggs and bad environment for both chickens are workers go hand in hand. The more you learn about this the more you'll be horrified. The operation was described by a former Sec. of Labor as among the worst sweatshops ever seen.

Stay safe.

elizabeth

Baron Korf said...

I'd like to raise chickens, but I just don't have the space. I personally haven't noticed any problems with the recall, but that's probably just dumb luck.

freddy said...

I don't have backyard chickens, but that's just a matter of time!

I do buy eggs from a local farmer who also happens to be a great friend. When we started buying from them, we all noticed right away the difference in taste and richness.

Rebecca in CA said...

I buy eggs from my friends who raise chickens in their backyard. They taste a hundred times better. We eat tons of eggs. Four little girls and dh and myself consume four to five dozen each week. Love em.

TJ said...

One step better than "certified organic" - buy from a local farmer. I don't know where you live, but farmer's markets are springing up everywhere. A stroll through the market is a great way to spend a Saturday morning - and you cannot beat the taste (or the health qualities, not to mention the benefit to the local economy, assisting in good stewardship of the land, etc.).

eulogos said...

I have chickens.

About 25 hens currently in production, but they produced all winter with artificial light and have now slowed down a lot. They are each laying only about every other day.

I got 12 new chicks. But then I had a broody hen whose eggs didn't hatch and she sat and sat and sat, so I bought some chicks, switched out eggs and put in chicks, and she bought it and raised them. I lost two of those, so that is another 10, which are "Easter eggers" which produce greenish and blueish eggs. I can hardly wait. Then someone who had too many gave me four more pullets. I also have some more broody hens. I am hoping each of them manages to hatch just a couple so they will be satisfied but I won't have a population explosion. If they all hatch, that would be too many mongrel chickens. But if none do, and I buy chicks for them, with cold whether coming on (it was already flannel nightgown weather here last night) I don't really have a good place to keep them separate from the main pen. I still have a lot to learn about how to manage chickens.
Even at 10 or a dozen a day the two of us don't eat them all and we give them to my husband's church. Some people pay me, most don't.
I was glad when this salmonella was found in states remote from here. I mean, that it wasn't found near here. I don't suppose home flocks are immune.

Have to get dressed and go do stuff with chickens.
Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

TJ,

There is not an either/or about organic and local. The press loves to make it seem like an argument, but in fact organic supporters always had a vision of local and regional food systems.

Besides, bacteria are not picky about locale. Certified Organic is a guarantee of good living conditions for the birds and practices on the farm that increase the health and vitality of the birds. Organic, or another third-party inspection system, should be the choice even from local vendors. A good way to tell about how forthright someone at the market is about their practices is if they invite you to visit the farm.

elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I've done research into the organic movement, and Elizabeth/Anon above is correct about the organic industry envisioning organic farming/suppliers being regional and local. But Big Agriculture would have none of that and has actually disenfranchised the true organic movement.

Back to the post. I am lucky to have a friend who gives me fresh, truly organic eggs. I don't own my own property. Unfortunately, I probably never will either, but if I ever do I will have chickens, or more likely, as when I was a child, ducks. Duck eggs are great.

Anonymous said...

One of my job assignments was in an animal drug supply warehouse. We sold batches of drugs to dairy, poultry, and pork suppliers. One can only think of the animal as a living breathing food source in an agricultural operation like that; doses of milk let-down hormones, vitamin K in 100 mL bottles for minimizing blood loss in birthing, antibiotics, vaccines, and of course it it is placed in the animal source food supply.

My state was listed in the recall. I hadn't heard anything about this particular salmonella contamination. Hillandale is a popular brand of eggs around here. There are a lot of poultry and pork producers in the state and we are also known for high rates of human histoplasmosis infections associated with the poultry industry.

On the other hand, there is widespread propaganda out about ill-founded rumors of detrimental effects of human consumption of soybeans to disparage the soy industry and its use as a foodsource for humans.

Anonymous said...

Most soybeans grown are fed to animals to fatten them up for slaughter.

That's what soy, the primary source of refined vegetable oil for much of the food industry, and corn, another oil source do. Fatten you up. Soybeans are not used in large quantities in the traditions of the countries that first developed them for food crops. (Modern China does not count - people ate tofu due to the absence of meat in the commie era.)

Anonymous said...

The propaganda about soy foods comes in when used against about direct consumption as in tofu, natto, tempeh, aburage, miso, soy milk, soy sauce, and soy protein alternatives to meat in human meals.

Yes, it is true the majority of soy is grown for silage and uses other than direct human consumption. Purdue University and other agricultural schools regularly conduct research to expand use of soy, but in recognising health benefits of increasing soyfoods in the diet, they also conduct experiments in improving soy 'taste'. However, if
someone is concerned about what cows and pigs consume, perhaps the contrasting argument is to eat less meat unless one eats range-fed animals.

Soy products, especially tofu, are a regular part of the diet in many Asian countries such as Viet Nam, Burma, Phillipines, Korea, and Thailand, not only China. Tofu-making and eating has a very long history, from centuries years B.C. to present-day Japan compared to that of cheese and yogurt industries.

Many scientific studies over the past 50 years have been published in reputable medical journals indicating regular consumption of tofu as a protein source rather than animal-based foods provide distinct advantages in reducing risk for heart disease, especially in the culture where initially a part e.g. Japan, China, NOT necessarily in those for with a soy-consumption heritage or recent immigrant status to meat-based cultures such as in Hawaii.

Diseases relating to blood and blood vessel integrity affect kidneys, pancreas, heart, brain, lungs, muscles, etc. any major organ system requiring oxygenated blood.

I first became interested in tofu 30 years ago, when I heard my husband's grandparents were tofu makers, and made it myself. Tofu has a fascinating history from a culinary to medical viewpoint, and now within the last 20 years from those advocating increased consumption of beef such as the industry in Australia, New Zealand, other parts of the UK, and segments of US population, especially private nutrition schools funded in part by special interest groups, and those that claim cholesterol has no role in cardiovascular disease.

Zircon

Anonymous said...

But, of course, those that eat tofu also eat eggs even raw, (delicious served with rice to accompany suki-yaki) so there is that issue as well.