April 20, 2024

Gravel Ridge Farms Shell Eggs Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak Ends; Some May Sue

The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that is linked to recalled Gravel Ridge Farms shell eggs has ended with 44 people sick in 11 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twelve people in this outbreak were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious.

Gravel Ridge Farms Salmonella Outbreak 102618

The case count by state is: Alabama (7), Colorado (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), New York (1), Ohio (4), Tennessee (25), and Texas (1). The patient age range is from one year to 94. Of 378 people interviewed, 12 were hospitalized, for a rate of 32%. That’s high for a Salmonella outbreak; the typical hospitalization rate for this illness is about 20%.

Gravel Ridge Farms recalled their cage-free large eggs with use-by dates from July 25 through October 3, 2018. As of October 25, 2018, this outbreak appears to be over.

Illness onset dates ranged from May 17 2018 to August 26, 2018. All epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicated that shell eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms were the likely source of this outbreak.

In the investigation, 81% of people interviewed said they ate restaurant dishes made with eggs the week before they got sick. The restaurants reported using shell eggs in the dishes eaten by these people. FDA and state partners traced the source of the shell eggs supplied to these restaurants: Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman, Alabama sold shell eggs to restaurants were 20 of the 26 people interviewed ate eggs. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly where these eggs were sold or which restaurants used them.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis was found in environmental samples taken from Gravel Ridge Farms. Officials in Alabama collected eggs from the Gravel Ridge Farms facility and the outbreak strain was found in those eggs. Whole genome sequencing on the bacteria found that the bacteria from Gravel Ridge Farms and from patients were closed related genetically, providing more evidence that people got sick from those eggs.

Public health officials remind consumers to handle eggs carefully. Eggs should be cooked until both the yolk and white are firm. Scrambled eggs shouldn’t be runny. Egg dishes such as quiches should be cooked to 160°F or higher to kill any bacteria. If you are going to make a recipe that uses raw eggs, only use pasteurized eggs. And be careful with cross-contamination. Wash countertops, cutting boards, utensils, plates, and your hands with soapy water after they have come into contact with raw eggs.

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