RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More than 200 million eggs distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in nine states, including Florida, have been recalled because of bacterial contamination.
A notice posted on the Food & Drug Administration website Friday said the eggs shipped from a North Carolina farm may be tainted with salmonella.
Salmonella causes serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. It is generally contracted from contaminated poultry, meat, eggs and water, and affects the intestinal tract.
Chickens can pass the bacteria to eggs because the eggs leave hens through the same passageway as feces. Alternatively, bacteria in the hen's ovary or oviduct can get to the egg before the shell forms around it, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
In 2010, a salmonella outbreak sickened hundreds and led to the recall of half a billion eggs.
In this case, twenty-two illnesses have been reported so far.
"Consumers with these eggs shouldn't eat them," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter. "Throw them away or return them to place of purchase for credit or refund."
The notice said Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms was voluntarily recalling the eggs "through an abundance of caution." A company spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking further comment Sunday.
The eggs reached consumers in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to the notice.
The recall came about after the illnesses were reported in states along the East Coast, and the FDA inspected the farm in eastern North Carolina's Hyde County that produces about 2 million eggs per day. Gottlieb said the agency's testing connected the recalled eggs to the people who got sick.
Brands affected include Country Daybreak, Coburn Farms, Crystal Farms, Sunshine Farms and Glenview, with some eggs sold at Food Lion stores.
The notice also lists varieties of a Food Lion store brand as well as some cartons available as the Great Value brand, which is sold at Walmart. The recall also lists eggs that were distributed to the Waffle House restaurant chain.
Food Lion has pulled the recalled eggs from shelves of the approximately 400 stores where they were available, said spokeswoman Emma Inman.
"The eggs that are in the stores today are safe," she said by phone. She said she didn't have information on whether Food Lion customers were among those who got sick.
Company officials at Walmart and Waffle House didn't immediately respond to messages Sunday seeking comment.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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