Eggs and salmonella have made the news again recently, with the federal Food and Drug Administration announcing that over 200 million eggs have been recalled for fear of an outbreak of salmonella.

Salmonella poisoning is extremely unpleasant, and the symptoms include: stomach cramps, cold and chills, fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. You can very quickly become dehydrated because you lose so much fluid to the vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms don’t usually last more than a week, but in some cases it can take a while for your bowel movements to get back to normal.

A small number of people become more seriously infected when the salmonella infection gets into their blood. Once there, it can infect the body tissues, such as the tissues around your brain and spinal cord, the lining of your heart or heart valves, your bones or bone marrow, and the lining of blood vessels.

Are Your Eggs Affected?

The contaminated eggs came from a farm in Hyde County, North Carolina, and they were recalled by Rose Acre Farms of Seymore, Indiana. The eggs had reportedly been distributed as wide as Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, ending up in stores and restaurants.

The brand names the eggs were sold under are: Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Crystal Farms, Glenview, Great Value and Sunshine Farms. They were also sold at Wal-Mart and Food Lion stores.

You can identify if your eggs are at risk by avoiding cartons that have the plant number ‘P-1065’ printed on them, and with the Julian date range of ‘011’ through to ‘102’ stamped on the side of the carton.

Keeping Eggs Safe at Home

Salmonella is a bacterium that can be present on the inside of affected eggs, and if you eat raw or undercooked eggs, you can be at risk of contracting it. Poultry droppings on the eggshells should be handled with caution, as they can affect the outside of the eggs.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has these tips for safely handling eggs to prevent food-borne illnesses:

• Buy pasteurized eggs and egg products when possible

• Ensure eggs are refrigerated at all times

• Throw out any cracked or dirty eggs

• Cook the egg until the yolk and white are firm – this means no runny eggs. Egg dishes need to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

• Don’t eat eggs, or egg dishes, that have been sitting out at room temperature for two hours or more.

• Always wash hands and cooking utensils that come into contact with raw egg with soap and hot water. This should include countertops and cutting boards.