Federal health officials have issued an urgent food safety alert amid an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses in Alabama and Tennessee linked to Gravel Ridge Farms eggs.
The Cullman, Alabama egg producer recalled its cage-free Grade A large eggs after health officials investigating the spate of reported Salmonella illnesses traced evidence back to the egg company.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that the outbreak is ongoing. The 14 reported illnesses occurred between July 10, 2018, to Aug. 7, 2018. Illnesses that occurred after Aug. 22 might not have been reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. As in most other outbreaks, it’s likely that there are other illnesses that went unreported.
Of the reported illnesses, 12 occurred in Tennessee and two occurred in Alabama. Those sickened range in age from 1 year old to 94, the CDC said. Two of the sickened consumers were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
The Gravel Ridge Farms eggs were sold in grocery stores in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. The potentially contaminated eggs were also sold wholesale to restaurants in those states.
The eggs potentially contaminated with Salmonella were sold in packages of a dozen and 2.5 dozen eggs in cardboard containers with UPC code 7-06970-38444-6. The eggs have a “best if used by” dates of July 25, 2018, through October 3, 2018.
The CDC is urging anyone who has the recalled eggs to throw them away or return them to the store of purchase regardless of the “best if used by” date.
“Even if some eggs were eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them,” the CDC says.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) typically lasts 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, in some the illness can become so severe that hospitalization is required.
Salmonella infections may also spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.