WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the salmonella outbreak that began at an Iowa egg farm last week is worse than previously thought. After extensive investigations, FDA officials have announced that nearly 99.9% of all eggs, everywhere, can contain trace amounts of salmonella.
“It appears that no egg is safe,” FDA Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Tyler said in a prepared statement. “Upon reviewing our data, eggs throughout our country, very possibly the world, can carry the salmonella bacteria. We urge citizens to remain calm and to refrain from eating eggs for the time being.” Tyler specified that any type of egg, including brown, white, and especially jumbo eggs are unsafe. Eggs from duck and other fowl are also contaminated, he said. “We’re not sure about platypus eggs,” Tyler added. “We’re working on that, but I wouldn’t eat those. That’s just weird.”
The salmonella bacteria is usually transferred through contact with animal feces. The bacteria can cause food poisoning and in certain cases even death. There is currently no vaccine for salmonellosis, the disease attributed to salmonella, though in 2008 antibodies to the bacteria were found in a group of Malawian children.
The recent outbreak of salmonella is just another in a long list of recent epidemics, according to the FDA and Center for Disease Control. Both agencies have issued health alerts as well as advisories on how to remain healthy. According to the CDC website, one way to prevent infection is to not eat raw eggs.
“I can’t believe all eggs are unhealthy,” Dominic Mastriano, a local personal trainer said. “I usually start off each day drinking three or four raw eggs, like in Rocky. At lunch I have an omelet and at dinner I sometimes have some kind of egg-based pastry. I don’t know what to do,” Mastriano said.
To make matters worse, the outbreak seems to have spread to other foods. “We are reviewing the possibility that chickens have also become infected with salmonella,” Deputy Commissioner Tyler said at his briefing. “Please, whatever you do, do not eat raw chicken.”
Egg and poultry producers are already beginning to feel the effects of the outbreak. “I might lose my business,” farmer Al Banyon of Galt, Iowa, said. “I’m not sure I can hold out until Easter when things might pick up again,” Banyon said.
In addition to salmonella, authorities also warn that eggs are high in cholesterol, and recommend regular exercise to maintain good heart health, though officials are dubious Americans will heed that warning.