Eggs have been making the news lately with three major nationwide recalls due to potential contamination with the bacteria, salmonella. The recalls involve eggs from Wright County and Hillandale Farms in Iowa.
But what’s the big cluck about it? Well, if you handle these eggs or eat them partially cooked (a.k.a. poached or soft boiled), you can potentially get pretty sick.
Salmonella (specifically salmonella enteriditis) is the most common form of bacterial food poisoning. Within 12 hours to 3 days after an exposure, people develop nasty diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. Unlike the watery diarrhea one typically sees with a stomach virus, salmonella usually causes diarrhea mixed with mucus and/or blood. And this lovely infection lasts up to a week. Ugh.
The good news is that most people fully recover without needing any special treatment or medication. Some unlucky people can get dehydrated and end up being hospitalized. And a few very unlucky people can be seriously ill from this infection. That includes young infants, people with weakened immune systems and the elderly.
Besides this Iowa egg issue, there are other ways to get this bug. So, how do you avoid getting salmonella and other forms of food poisoning?
1. Make sure to thoroughly wash countertops, sinks and cutting boards with soap and water when preparing foods with eggs, raw meat or poultry.
2. Only prepare fully cooked eggs.
3. Make sure hamburger/ground beef is cooked completely until it is brown. Yes, pink makes a juicier burger but it also makes a germ-filled one.
4. Use pasteurized eggs in recipes that call for raw eggs (like Caesar salad dressing).
5. Keep eggs, meat and poultry properly refrigerated.
6. Keep all baby bottles, pacifiers and breast pump supplies away from food preparation areas.
7. Keep pet iguanas or turtles out of the kitchen counter area. (You think I am joking… I had a patient get salmonella this way). Make sure to wash hands thoroughly after handling.
8. Buy only pasteurized apple cider and other juice products.
9. Wash hands thoroughly after visiting a petting zoo.
Take home tip: If you or a family develops diarrhea that is bloody or mucousy, it’s time to call your doctor.
Taking the proper precautions to avoid salmonella? Concerned that you’ve bought recalled eggs? Post your comments on the Parenting Community.