LSU Ag Center weighs in on salmonella source
A recall of tainted eggs has topped 500 million. More than1,000 people across the country have gotten sick with salmonella poisoning.
State inspectors last week found three cases included in the recall. They don't think the eggs went through major distribution chains. The feds blamed the outbreak on two farms in Iowa and don't think it has spread beyond there. For perspective, the number of eggs recalled is less than 1 percent of the annual production in the country.
The source of the outbreak at the farms has not been pinpointed. Agriculture experts at LSU say it all comes down to how rules and regulations are followed.
While thousands of cartons of eggs across the country are being cracked open for salmonella inspections, a professor at LSU's Ag Center says the search for the source should go no further than the fowl.
"It's a form of salmonella that actually infects the ovaries of chickens and gets inside the egg while the egg is being formed inside the chicken," said Theresia Lavergne, Ph.D.
Lavergne says there's no guarentee or indicator the disease will pass on. She says there's also no real indicator salmonella is even a problem.
"For the most part, you cannot see it by just looking at an egg or looking at a chicken," said Lavergne.
That's where regulations for testing and treating the animals and their eggs come into play. Lavergne says there are state and federal rules for sanitary housing, clean food and even human exposure when it comes to the prevention of outbreaks like this. Those are also key questions in the federal government's investigation into the Iowa chicken farms connected to the recalls.
"There is no question that these farms that are involved in the recall were not operating with the standards of practice that we consider responsible," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.
What the FDA says is responsible is for families to follow at-home guidelines for keeping and cooking eggs.
"No more runny egg yolks for mopping up with toast," said Hamburg.
The FDA has already added a few brands to the original recall but says it may still be expanded further.