Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson said first and foremost it’s important to remember the eggs only came from a couple of farms up north.
“All the eggs involved in the recall were from two farms in Iowa,” Anderson said. “So if you’ve bought some from a farmer’s market grown in Louisiana, there’s nothing to worry about. Of course, you still need to check the cartons and cook every egg properly, but odds are, you don’t have salmonella-infested eggs if you bought them here.”
American Farm Bureau Federation Food Safety Policy Specialist Kelli Ludlum said salmonella has always been in eggs, it’s just takes a few bad ones to spoil the whole dozen, or in this case, 500 million.
“Salmonella is inherent in poultry and eggs, bacteria which is naturally-occurring,” Ludlum said. “So until we go to producing eggs in petri dishes or test tubes we’re going to have to deal with that reality of nature. They’re going to be there in a free range situation. They’re going to be there in a caged modern confinement situation and in both cases you have to learn to manage that risk.”
Kelli Ludlum said salmonella claims have become more of a problem with modern agricultural production falling foul of the facts.
“The incidences of salmonella today are much less than they were 50, even 10 to 15 years ago,” she said. “We have much more sensitive food safety tests, so we’re detecting cases of salmonella where we might not have in the past.
“I think people are more likely to go to the doctor today if they have a stomachache, whereas 50 years ago people probably would’ve just chalked it up to a stomachache and that might have been a salmonella issue,” Ludlum added. “Also, in the age of the 24 hour news cycle we hear a lot more about those issues.”
That constant news barrage is something that animal activist groups have taken advantage of, Ludlum said.
“Groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States have really seized on this unfortunate situation with the egg recall to attempt to further their political agendas related to livestock production practices,” Ludlum said. “Not only is that unfortunate from a misleading consumer perspective, but it also doesn’t really reflect the science that’s out there today. “
Ludlum said consumers can help assure their own food safety.
“FDA has advised folks to lay off of the runny egg yolks for a while,” she said. “I think that’s good advice in general. You know there are certain things that we know as consumers are not the safest in the world. Eating a raw hamburger is one of those. Eating raw eggs are another that just tends to increase your risk. So certainly it’s a good idea that FDA has warned consumers for the time being to avoid products with raw eggs in them particularly until this recall is over.”