Good Earth Egg Company, LLC is recalling all of its shell eggs due to potential Salmonella contamination. The recall comes after eight people tested positive for the same strain of the bacteria.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified eight cases of Salmonella Oranienburg infections matching the outbreak strain across three states. Two people required hospitalization due to the severity of their illnesses.
Company Recalls All Shell Eggs Due to Salmonella Threat
On October 3rd, Good Earth Egg Company recalled all of its shell eggs due to potential Salmonella contamination. This includes all shell eggs produced by the company with sell by dates of 10/8/2016 and earlier.
The manufacturer sold the eggs under multiple brand names. If you do not know whether your eggs were distributed by Good Earth Egg Company, ask the retail location from which they were purchased or the restaurant where you are dining.
The distributor sold the eggs throughout the midwest, including in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. The eggs were sold to supermarkets, wholesalers, restaurants, institutions, and directly to customers.
The eggs, sold in a variety of sizes, were packaged in various-sized cases: 6-count cartons, 10-count cartons, 12-count cartons, 18-count cartons, 15 dozen cases and 30 dozen cases. According to the CDC, the dates and codes on the cartons and cases will include everything before and including date code 252 – Sell By 10/8/16, with “Packed for” or “Produced for Good Earth Egg Company.”
Illnesses and Investigations
Between April 23 and August 24th, at least eight people fell ill with the outbreak strain of Salmonella. The CDC is currently working with public health and regulatory officials in the state of Missouri and several other states, along with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to investigate the multistate outbreak.
The case count stands at 8, with 6 cases from Missouri, 1 case from Illinois and 1 case from Kansas currently confirmed.
The eight ill individuals range from one year to 85 years old, with a median age of 44. Although two hospitalizations were required, no deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations identified shell eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company of Bonne Terre, Missouri as the likely source of the ongoing outbreak.
Of the six ill people interviewed, 100% said that they ate or possibly ate shell eggs in the week prior to falling ill. Individuals reported eating eggs at home as well as at dining establishments.
In fact, evidence from a restaurant constitutes some of the most conclusive evidence in the outbreak thus far. Federal, state, and local officials performed a traceback investigation from one Missouri restaurant where three people reported consuming eggs.
As a preliminary matter, the investigation showed that Good Earth Egg Company supplied eggs to that restaurant.
After establishing that Good Earth Egg Co. eggs are used in that restaurant, Missouri health officials collected and tested shell eggs from the Missouri restaurant location. Testing isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg. Environmental samples taken at the Good Earth Egg Company processing facility also isolated the outbreak strain.
If You Feel Like You’ve Heard This One Before, It’s Because You Have
Last winter, late in 2015, people in Missouri were contracting salmonellosis at an unusually high rate. Ultimately, on January 9, 2016, Good Earth Egg Company issued this January 2016 press release through the FDA: “Good Earth Egg Company Voluntarily Recalls Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk” (compare this to the the October 2016 press release issued through the FDA earlier this week – “Good Earth Egg Company Voluntarily Recalls Shell Eggs Because of a Possible Health Risk” – and one notes the only difference is literally a single “a”).
The January 2016 recall came after, as the release puts it, the “Food and Drug Administration . . . notified Good Earth Egg that a link has been established between eggs produced in our facility to cases of Salmonella illnesses in the state of Missouri.”
In February 2016, the FDA issued an Enforcement Letter. The letter, dated February 23, 2016, concerned an inspection of the company’s shell egg production facility on December 7-9, 2015. (The issue of why, particularly given the recall, it took almost three months to issue the letter is a subject for another post). According to the letter, the FDA “found that [the company] had serious violations of the Prevention of Salmonella Enteritdis (SE) in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation regulation (the shell egg regulation) . . . render[ing] your shell eggs adulterated . . . whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.” (emphasis added).
Among other violations cited, the FDA noted that Good Earth Egg Company failed to monitor for the presence of rodents and flies. Rodent excreta pallets were observed in the hen houses.
It is unknown whether the company followed through with their remedial plans; however, the ongoing outbreak would suggest that whatever measures were taken did not suffice to prevent substantial threats to public health.
If you or a family member became ill have been diagnosed with Salmonella and you would like to explore pursuing a legal claim, contact a knowledgeable Salmonella lawyer at Ron Simon & Associates for a free case evaluation by calling 1-888-335-4901.