The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission has issued a statement on the investigation of salmonella carried by eggs. It says the problem is minimal here (NO salmonella found by Arkansas producers), but offers some cautionary advice.
According to reports given to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, Arkansas egg producers have not found any Salmonella Enteritidis in their chickens or houses. The Commission has been in close contact with the packers and distributors involved in the national recall that have been distributing eggs in Arkansas. Distributors of recalled eggs notified all stores and restaurants to remove the eggs from shelves. Only a limited number of the recalled eggs were distributed in Arkansas.
Consumers should check the codes on egg cartons to verify they are not from plants involved in the recall. Many of the brand names are packaged by multiple egg producers and not all eggs from any one brand are involved in the recall. Affected plant numbers are P1026; P1942; P1946; P1413; P1720; P1663 and P1860. This information can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton. Arkansas consumers with eggs from any of these plants should destroy them or return the eggs for a refund. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission at 501-907-2455.
Consumers should refrigerate shell eggs at all times; discard cracked or dirty eggs; wash their hands, cooking utensils and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs; cook eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm; avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs; and refrigerate unused or leftover foods containing eggs promptly.
All producers that package eggs for sale in Arkansas must register with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission annually and label egg cartons with their plant number. Distributors must also obtain state permits. The Commission routinely inspects wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and other food service locations to verify eggs being sold or used in Arkansas meet registration and other food safety requirements. The eggs are inspected to ensure they are clean and the shell is unbroken both of which can be risk factors for egg contamination by bacteria such as salmonella.