Making Life Easier

How to track the unsafe eggs

Today’s Byte is not technical – except maybe as a demonstration of how technology helps to make everyday chores easier. But I was just looking at our half empty carton of eggs this morning and wondering if I should keep or toss them. On the off chance that there’s someone who could use these instructions, I’m passing on an email I received from USPIRG today.

Q: How do I keep unsafe eggs off my breakfast table?

A: First, look at the recall list to see which eggs to throw out or return to the store. While thoroughly cooking eggs can kill the bacteria, health officials are recommending people throw away or return the recalled eggs.

Q: How do I know if my eggs might be contaminated?

A: Each egg carton is stamped with a number that looks like this: P1026-136. The “P1026” represents the plant that the eggs came from, and the “136” represents the Julian date. Since Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms are sold under different brand names in stores all over the country, the FDA has compiled a table of all the egg brands, by their specific plant and Julian numbers, under recall.

Follow this link to see the FDA egg recall table, and compare the numbers in the table with number listed on your carton of eggs. If your eggs are recalled, throw them away or return them to the store!

Q: Are all of the recalled eggs really unsafe?

A: Well, when food facilities the size of Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms ship their products to multiple states and sell them under at least 37 different brands, the only way to contain an outbreak of food-borne illness is to treat all of the product as potentially contaminated. The bottom line is that it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to something as nasty as salmonella.

That’s why inspections of food processing facilities are so important — they keep unsafe food off store shelves in the first place. Unfortunately, many food factories in the U.S. have gone as long as 5 years without an inspection.

Q: How do eggs get contaminated by salmonella?

A: In this case, the eggs were likely contaminated because the hens had bacteria their ovaries or oviducts, likely from contaminated feed. The bacteria entered the eggs while they were developing inside the hen, and stayed in the shell until eggs are eaten.

Next week, I’ll be technical again – I promise. In fact, I think I’ll be writing about how to add a “clickable” image to a WordPress post

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