The proposed rules - and many more - have now been put into place. They require the control of mice, which can spread the bacteria; refrigerated storage of eggs; and disinfecting of hen houses, any time there is a discovery of a contaminated flock.
Farms would also be required to have "biosecurity" measures such as restricted access to flocks and protective clothing for workers. Experts believe these rules would almost eliminate the food safety risk in eggs and feel the benefits far outweigh the costs incurred.
Some research suggests "forced molting", a process of starving an older hen to get it to lay more eggs, increases the incidence of salmonella. However, the FDA would not ban this practice, instead, they would require the flocks to be tested for salmonella again after the molt.
The FDA has already imposed refrigeration requirements on supermarkets and restaurants. All egg cartons are required labeled with the following: "Safe handling instructions to prevent illness from bacteria. Keep eggs refrigerated; cook eggs until the yolks are firm and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly."
Are Those Eggs REALLY Organic Eggs?
Are you spending more money to purchase organic eggs? Is it worthwhile? Well, with certain brands of dairy and eggs, that's being called into question by many.
The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watch dog group that strives to protect small family farms, recently filed complaints with the USDA, arguing that 14 large dairy farms and egg producers didn't provide animals with proper outdoor and pasture access, thereby violating federal organic standards.
The USDA closed the complaints without investigating, but experts say the findings suggest some farms with the organic seal cut corners. Make sure you get the real deal by choosing brands that Cornucopia rates highly in terms of organic compliance. Two to start with: Vital Farms eggs and Maple Hill Creamery yogurt.
Unclean Conventional Eggs
Conventional eggs are not only less nutritious than pasture-raised eggs, but studies show that they have higher levels of Salmonella than cage-free eggs. The cramped cages stress out hens (which lowers their natural immunity) and are difficult to disinfect (which attracts more disease carrying insects and rodents).
Cage Free Eggs
Cage free eggscome from hens that can spread their wings and lay eggs in next boxes - closer to their natural behavior. Conditions are usually more sanitary, but hens can be fed pesticide treated grain. Look for a third party certification seal such as "Certified Humane".
Pasture Raised Organic Eggs
Research shows pasture-raised eggs from hens that hunt and peck outside for grass and insects (and eat some organic feed) can contain 2.5 times the omega-3s and 2 times the vitamin E of conventional. Opt for a pasture-raised certified brand such as Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Organic Eggs.
You may also find of interest...
- Food Seniors are Advised Not to Eat (Seniors Section)
- Ground Beef Safety (Blog Post)
- Food Borne Illness (Seniors Section)
- Eye on Home Food Safety (Blog Post)
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