Companies Have Egg all Over Their Faces

Developments in ongoing investigation salmonella eggs

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

Since May 2010, CDC has identified a nationwide, four-fold increase in the number of Salmonella enteritidis cases discovered through PulseNet.

CDC received reports of approximately 200 SE cases every week during late June and early July of 2010. This compares to an average of some 50 reports of SE to the CDC each week over the past five years. Many states have also reported similar increases since May 2010.

Epidemiologic investigations conducted by public health officials in California, Colorado and Minnesota revealed several restaurants or events where more than one person ill with this type of SE had eaten. Information from these investigations suggested that shell eggs were the likely source of infections in many of these restaurants or events.

Traceback and Recall

FDA, CDC, and state partners conducted traceback investigations and found many of these restaurants or events received shell eggs from a single firm, Wright County Egg, in Galt, Iowa.

On August 13, 2010, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, conducted a nationwide voluntary recall of shell eggs that it had shipped since May 19, 2010. Shell eggs from Wright County Egg were sold to distributors and wholesalers in 22 states and Mexico, who then distributed the shell eggs further throughout the country. According to Wright County Egg of Iowa, 380 million of their shell eggs are being recalled under many different brand names. On August 19, Hillandale Farms of Iowa initiated an additional recall of eggs that went to grocery stores, distributors, and wholesalers in 14 states; these entities then distributed the shell eggs further throughout the country. In all, more than 500 million eggs are now involved in the nationwide recall.

The recalled shell eggs were packaged under several brand names including: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps. A complete list of recalled brands is available as well as FDA’s searchable database created for this particular recall.

Public Information on the Investigation

FDA has conducted an extensive investigation at both Wright County Egg and at Hillandale Farms of Iowa. The investigation involved environmental and product sampling, and records review in order to help identify the source of the contamination. On August 27, FDA announced that six positive samples that match the DNA fingerprint of the outbreak strain of SE had been collected from both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa. On August 30, FDA made its inspectional observations, also known as 483s, available on the FDA website. These reports detail multiple violations of the Egg Safety Rule at both companies. A set of Questions and Answers on these reports, as well as a recap of the findings, is also included.

In order to keep the public informed of any new developments, FDA has also been updating its Frequently Asked Questions regarding the outbreak investigation on

Resources from FDA and Other Government Agencies

FDA is collaborating with Federal and state partners to investigate a nationwide increase of Salmonella enteritidis infections. Partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state public health and agriculture officials. Joint FDA/CDC field investigation teams are working to identify potential sources of SE infection in shell eggs.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 22, 2010