For the second time this year, shoppers are being told to check their egg cartons after a regional supplier sold eggs to grocery stores and supermarkets that were contaminated with Salmonella.
Gravel Ridge Farms, an Alabama-based distributor, is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pull eggs from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee after 14 people have fallen ill.
Two individuals have been hospitalized, and it's likely that more victims will be identified—while most people start to get sick between 6 hours and three days after eating contaminated food, according to the CDC, it can take up to 14 days after infection for symptoms to appear. The supplier has put out a recall notice, but many of the leading supermarkets who buy eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms could still have the eggs on shelves, as expiration dates last well into October.
The Food and Drug Administration has published a list of all stores in which affected eggs were sold, which include a string of Piggly Wiggly locations, Western Markets, and a handful of major grocery stores in the Atlanta metropolitan region. The eggs in question were sold in cartons containing the UPC code "7-06970-38444-6" and have expiration dates ranging between July 25 and October 3.
The CDC asks any affected customer to either discard of the eggs or return them to the point of purchase for a refund, and to thoroughly clean the space in which the eggs were stored due to possible contamination. Salmonella is most commonly spread through uncooked meat, contaminated water, raw milk, fresh produce, and raw eggs like those sold by Gravel Ridge Farms—but the bacteria can also spread upon contact, which is why it's super important to wash hands thoroughly when handling any perishable staples.
Salmonella poisoning leads to diarrhea, high fevers, and widespread abdominal pain—it's particularly worrisome for the young and the elderly, as immune systems are underdeveloped at these ages, the CDC says. Salmonella poisoning can affect individuals for up to 7 days, but if the side effects are severe enough, patients can be admitted to the hospital for further treatment. Antibiotics are normally prescribed to eliminate bacteria from the intestines and bloodstream and to prevent further sickness, including any risk of death.
Earlier this year, more than 200 million eggs were stripped from shelves for a similar Salmonella-fueled outbreak—they were sold at national chains like Publix and Walmart as well. More than 45 people were sickened thanks to that outbreak in 10 different states across the United States.
This new recall is actually the twelfth time that a Salmonella outbreak has made headlines this year, according to USA Today. Just last month, Empire Kosher Poultry had to issue a public health notice highlighting a Salmonella contamination affecting its chicken products after 17 people were sickened and one person died. That outbreak affected shoppers preparing to observe the Rosh Hashanah holiday in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.