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Over 200 Million Eggs Recalled Over Salmonella Fears

CBS News reports that 206 million eggs are being recalled over salmonella concerns. The recalled eggs were sold in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. 

The eggs were traced to a North Carolina farm owned by Indiana-based Rose Acre Farm. The voluntary recall follows a spate of illnesses that were eventually tracked to the Hyde Country farm, which produces 2 million eggs daily. The FDA notice stated, “The affected eggs, from plant number P-1065 with the Julian date range of 011 through date of 102 printed on either the side portion or the principal side of the carton or package.” At this time, 22 illnesses have been linked to this outbreak.

The fact there is another salmonella egg recall in the news is no surprise. The raising of egg-laying hens indoors and in cages in ever larger commercial operations has detrimental effects on animal welfare, the environment and the nutritional value of the eggs. The size of the hens' confinement space is directly related to salmonella risk: the smaller the space, the higher the risk of contamination.

One study found that while more than 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, this dropped to just over 4 percent for organic, i.e., free-range pastured flocks. The highest prevalence of salmonella occurred in the largest flocks (30,000 birds or more), which contained over four times the average level of salmonella found in smaller flocks.

A sustainably sourced egg might easily be classified as a superfood. Eggs contain some of the highest quality protein you can eat, as well as beneficial fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Two raw egg yolks contain nearly twice as many antioxidants as an apple, but be aware that cooking them will reduce that by half. Cooking your eggs can also increase your likelihood of developing an egg allergy. Heating the egg protein actually changes its chemical shape, and this distortion can easily lead to allergies.

If you consume your eggs in their raw state, the incidence of egg allergy virtually disappears. I also believe eating eggs raw helps preserve many of the highly perishable nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful prevention nutrients for age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.

Beware of consuming raw egg whites without the yolks as raw egg whites contain avidin, which can bind to biotin. If you cook the egg white, then the avidin is not an issue. Likewise, if you consume the whole egg raw (both yolk and egg white), there is more than enough biotin in the yolk to compensate for the avidin binding.

If you choose to cook your eggs, then soft-boiled would be your best option. Scrambling your eggs is one of the worst ways to eat eggs as it actually oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have high cholesterol this may actually be a problem as the oxidized cholesterol may cause some damage in your body.

One of the best ways to ensure you're getting the highest quality eggs is sourcing your eggs from a local farmer who practices sustainable agriculture and raises chickens humanely. Every state has a core sustainable agriculture organization or biological farming organization supporting the farmers in that state. There are also increasing numbers of "eat local" and "buy local" directories that list farms in your particular geographic area.
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