KINGMAN - Grocery stores throughout Mohave County appear to be unaffected by a nationwide recall of nearly 400 million eggs that have been linked to salmonella contamination.
According to Associated Press reports, stores and distributors in as many as 17 states including Arizona may have received tainted eggs from Iowa-based Wright County Egg, which first issued a recall of the eggs last week that has since expanded and may continue to grow as more people fall ill.
The bad eggs were discovered following an increase in reported cases of salmonella poisoning between May and July. As many as 2,000 cases of the illness have been linked to eggs produced by Wright, with many stemming from individual outbreaks at restaurants in California, Colorado, Minnesota and North Carolina.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the recalled eggs come in 6-, 12- and 18-count containers and can be identified by the plant and date number printed on the side of the carton. Affected plant numbers include 1026, 1413, 1720, 1942 and 1946, with date numbers running from 136 to 229 - egg cartons use a 365-day dating system rather than the typical month/day format. Cartons list the plant number followed by the date, such as "P-1026 165" for an egg produced at Plant 1026 on June 14.
Wright County Egg's recall affects a wide range of brands, including: Albertsons, Boomsma, Dutch Farms, Farm Fresh, Glenview, Hillandale, James Farms, Kemps, Lucerne, Lund, Mountain Dairy, Pacific Coast, Ralph's, Shoreland, Sunshine and Trafficanda. However, none of the local grocery stores have reported receiving a batch of the tainted eggs.
Both local Safeway stores do carry Lucerne eggs, and a Lucerne representative confirmed that the company is recalling eggs from seven states, though none from Arizona. The representative confirmed that none of the Lucerne eggs shipped to Arizona stores have been affected by the recall.
Bashas' is also exempt from the recall, according to company spokesman Rob Johnson, who said that all Arizona Bashas' eggs are sourced locally from Hickman Family Farms in Phoenix. Local Walmart assistant manager Linda Funk also indicated that her store is unaffected by the recall.
"We've heard nothing," she said. "When something like this happens, (Walmart corporate) would contact us immediately, so we're OK."
She noted that Walmart sells the Eggland's Best and Great Value egg brands, neither of which has been named in the recall.
Neither Kingman Regional nor Hualapai Mountain Medical Centers have treated any cases of salmonella in recent weeks. KRMC spokeswoman Jamie Taylor did note one suspected case of food poisoning last week, though tests indicated it was not caused by the consumption of eggs. Likewise, Drew Markell of HMMC said that neither the emergency department nor the lab have seen any positive tests for salmonella in the past 30 days.
According to Anna Scherzer, an epidemiologist for the Mohave County Department of Health, neither Kingman nor the county at large have seen any salmonella outbreaks of late, with one lone exception.
"We have one salmonella case pending for Mohave County that hasn't been typed," she said. "So we don't know if it could potentially be linked, but that wasn't even a resident of Mohave County, it was a visitor."
The FDA is advising anyone who suspects they have bought tainted eggs to either dispose of them or return them to the place of purchase for a refund. Additionally, consumers are being reminded to avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs and to wash hands, cooking utensils and food preparation surfaces thoroughly after contact with them.
For further updates on the Wright County Egg recall, visit www.eggsafety.org or www.fda.gov. A full up-to-date list of affected brands, including plant IDs and date numbers, can be found at http://www.eggsafety.org/mediacenter/alerts/73-recall-affected-brands-and-descriptions.