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Shoppers wary of salmonella-tainted eggs

August 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
With multiple Southland companies joining the massive egg recall from salmonella concerns, shoppers are wary of buying all brands of eggs from stores.Moark LLC of Fontana is voluntarily pulling nearly 300,000 eggs sold under the Albertsons, Yucaipa Valley, Farmer's Gems and Mountain Dairy brand names. The company packages eggs for retail and wholesale customers in Southern California and Las Vegas.

Moark's president Craig Willardson issued the following statement:

"Once we were notified that Moark had received eggs from this producer, we immediately notified customers to ensure that any eggs included in the recall were withdrawn from the marketplace."

On Saturday, the Luberski Company in Fullerton announced it is also voluntarily recalling eggs it sells to food preparation companies.

Shoppers say the recall makes them nervous.

"Every time there's that kind of message, I kind of hold off on the purchase until I make sure everything is OK," said shopper Marc Ahumada.

"It makes me kind of afraid to buy them because everything you're hearing. I don't want my family getting sick," said another shopper, Lynn Luper.

The eggs were produced by two companies in Iowa: Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. The nationwide recall now includes more than a half-billion eggs. So far, salmonella poisoning has sickened around 1,300 people.

The two farms share suppliers for chicken and feed. Wright County Egg has been cited several times for safety and regulatory violations.

The Food and Drug Administration said finding the source of the contamination could be difficult.

"We don't know exactly how the contamination got into the chicken population and into the egg population, and we're not fully sure of the extent of the recall that will be necessary to protect consumers," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "We are very actively engaged and we are in the midst of probably the largest egg recall that has happened in recent history."

The FDA said it needs more authority to help prevent salmonella outbreaks. The agency said it's hoping that Congress will approve funding to allow it to do more inspections of farms.

The egg producers are facing legal troubles. According to ABC News, a Seattle firm is representing more than three dozen salmonella poisoning victims in a law suit. One of the victims is a California girl who spent several days in the hospital and now has tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

The salmonella outbreak has raised questions about federal inspections of egg farms. The FDA oversees inspections of shell eggs, while the Agriculture Department is in charge of inspecting other egg products.

Salmonella poisoning can be life threatening, but so far no deaths have been reported.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA are urging consumers to pay attention to egg cartons with these numbers:

1026, 1413, 1946, 1720, 1942, 1951, 1686, 1091

Those eggs are tainted.

It's the only full-proof way to keep yourself safe because eggs with salmonella look, smell and taste normal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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