Despite a recall of more than 550 million potentially salmonella tainted eggs, the two farms at the heart of the controversy have found a way to use those eggs. In other words even if you don’t buy cartons of eggs with the recalled code on them, you may be surprised to find that these eggs may still make it into your home.
The plan is to turn the eggs into the liquid egg product that is used in everything from desserts such as cookies and cakes, to egg substitute products and even pet food. Both Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms will be sending their egg supplies to what are known as “breaking plants” to be processed and distributed.
The FDA and animal science experts say that the pasteurization process indisputably kills the salmonella bacteria and that once pasteurized the eggs will be safe for consumption. Dr. Theresa Lavergne an associate professor of animal sciences at Louisiana State University said: We can be confident that the pasteurized eggs are safe”. Officials from the U.S. Department of agriculture say that the suspect eggs will be segregated from other eggs and will undergo a second inspection to make sure that no trace of salmonella remains.
“Generally speaking, pasteurization of potentially hazardous foods is a positive step. It must be born in mind though, that such a process is not failsafe, and that post-pasteurization contamination can also occur.” According to safe food advocate; David Babcock of Marler Clark “ This April, an outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis in North Carolina was linked by state officials to a supposedly pasteurized, commercially manufactured egg white product, used to make a dessert at a restaurant. North Carolina officials have also stated that the outbreak is ultimately linked to the shell eggs in the national recall.”
Experts are aware that the decision to put these tainted eggs on the market in a safe form may not ease the worry of consumers. Patricia Y. Hester of Purdue University says that there could be a public perception problem. The possibility that consumers will overreact and consider the egg product not safe could lead to a major loss of revenue for the egg industry and eventually higher egg prices for consumers.
Ilina Ewen of Raleigh, N.C. , a mother of two who blogs on Foodie Mama says, “To me, even if the scientists say it’s fine, it makes me not trust it. Scientists once said nicotine was fine, too.”
Typically about 70 percent of all eggs produced in the country are sold in shell, and about 30 percent go to breaking facilities. Eggs from the breaking plants are used in a wide range of products. Commercial bakeries for example are large order customers for pasteurized egg products. There are 57 egg breaking plants spread over 23 states according to the USDA. With the major recall still in effect for in shell egg from these two farms, the millions of eggs laid each day will be going to breaking facilities.
Feed given to hens, used at both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, is the likely source of contamination that led to a nationwide salmonella outbreak, federal officials said Thursday. An official for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said the reported cases of salmonella enteriditis stood at 2,430 between May 1 and Aug. 25.