What Came First: The Chicken or the Salmonella?

| 8/24/2010 9:23:53 AM


This morning Fox News reported that,

"approximately 1,300 people have been sickened in a salmonella outbreak linked to eggs in three states and possibly more, and health officials on Wednesday dramatically expanded a recall to 380 million eggs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with state health departments to investigate the illnesses. No deaths have been reported, said Dr. Christopher Braden, a CDC epidemiologist involved in the investigation.
Initially, 228 million eggs were recalled but that number was increased to the equivalent of nearly 32 million dozen-egg cartons.
The outbreak was linked to in-shell eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, according to Sherri McGarry of the Food and Drug Administration."

So I sit here, staring out at one of our flocks, there is a salmonella outbreak in America that has now possibly effected some 384 million eggs.

Wright County Egg – an Iowa based company – ships all the way to places like California, and sells eggs to distributors like Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp. (You can read more about these companies and egg safety by visiting this site.)

LayinEmNow here at Odom's Idle Acres we not only raise a flock of laying hens (6-7 eggs/day) but we also raise a flock of broilers for meat. I am finding myself more and more bothered by this situation with each passing day. In past months we have seen the number of backyard flocks rise sharply due to grocery prices and the push for locavore living and sourcing ones food. A large number of cities - including San Francisco and New York City - allow small, backyard flocks (6-10 birds) and cities are consistently allowing for more backyard flocks and larger flocks. Having said that, do we really need to ship eggs half way across the country?

It's fair to say that the further you ship an item such as eggs the more risk you are taking. Not to mention the fact that it just isn't necessary. Most of America has a climate hospitable to chickens and a number of communities in the middle of the country and the southeast region claim poultry as one of their top agricultural motivators.

9/20/2010 9:54:04 AM

When will people get the simple fact that the government they all think will save them are is the same bunch that allows all this disease to happen because of their policies. There is this funny little concept called "unintended consequences" and did anyone ever notice who gets screwed by these unintended consequences? Somehow it is never the corporate farms, it is the people who actually do things right who always pay. But that must be what the people want. They support it by their votes and with their taxes, then they run down to a big box store and buy organic food. Morons. Go look up what constitutes ORGANIC STANDARDS these days? If you don't grow your own food then the next best way is to KNOW personally the people that do grow your food. If you cannot do either, good luck, and please do not bring anymore children into this world.

Heidi L.
8/25/2010 11:49:08 AM

We all want to limit government in our every day life but I think it is important to mention a program that has been developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to insure that we minimize Salmonella outbreaks. The NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan) was developed 70 years ago. Individual flocks can take part in this program. Some states offer testing for free and some have a small fee per bird. They take blood samples from the birds and swabs of bird housing and hatching equipment to check for Salmonella, Avian Mycoplasmas, and Avian Influenza. If your birds are free from these pathogens you are given a NPIP Number. In many states it is now illegal to import birds/hatching eggs from non-NPIP flocks. Just a recommendation from me. If you are planning on selling your homegrown fresh eggs for consumption I would strongly suggest researching hatcheries and chose one that is part of the NPIP Program. Don't purchase birds from other flocks that haven't been cleared. The same if you are hatching eggs from other flocks. Salmonella can become trapped inside the egg. So when the egg hatches you will have an infected bird.

8/24/2010 5:25:31 PM

Andrew, Thank you for this post, and the tips. Today, my hen laid an egg in her water bowl (how, I will never know) and I threw it out just because I wasn't certain. I hate to throw out eggs, but your post was timely. I have a couple chickens and am seriously considering adding more. Eggs are selling for $ 6.00 a dozen in the Atlanta area and people are begging, literally begging for eggs. Funny how people are beginning to see the importance of eating local and knowing where food comes from. Again, thank you.

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