WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Recalls of eggs, romaine see sellers eating costs, cooks preparing with caution

Posted April 16, 2018 6:18 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 3:22 p.m. EDT

On a day when millions of eggs and romaine lettuce nationwide were under scrutiny after reports stomach aches and diarrhea, the manager of a Raleigh salad shop and representatives of the agriculture industry have a shared suggestion: Make sure raw foods are handled, prepared and cooked carefully.

Jan Kelly, executive director of the NC Egg Association, said a fully cooked egg is a fully safe egg.

"The NC Egg Association and FDA recommend that eggs should be fully cooked until both the yolks and the whites are firm, and consumers should not eat foods that may contain raw or undercooked eggs," she said.

At Happy + Hale in downtown Raleigh, the salad maker had to go without romaine for a day after learning that cases of chopped lettuce delivered from Yuma, Ariz., were included in the recall.

"We were closed when we found out that it happened, so we had to come back and get rid of it all," said Jordan Perili, operator of Happy + Hale. "You don't ever want to make anyone sick."

Nearly three dozen have been sickened so far nationwide, but Perili was able to catch the delivery before it reached his customers.

"As a business operator, you have to eat that cost and throw it away. People usually understand when you tell them it's for their health."

Romaine lettuce recall

Farmers and growers are suffering, too, after a recall that includes more than 200 million eggs, some linked to a farm in eastern North Carolina and sold at Food Lion and Walmart.

"This is a very big recall," said Joe Reardon, assistant commissioner for consumer protection at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

While only one case of salmonella sickness has been reported in the Tar Heel State, Reardon urged everyone to check their refrigerators.

"These recalls are important," he said. "It's easy for consumers to get recall fatigue. There are so many – 700-800 a year – but the consumer needs be aware and use this information to protect your family."

Check the egg carton for information that it comes from plant P-1065 with a Julian date (that's the date the eggs were packed) between 011 and 102. Possibly contaminated eggs were sold under the brand names Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Nelms, Crystal Farms, Coburn Farms, Sunshine Farms, Glenview and Great Value.

Eggs can be returned to the point of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 855-215-5730 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The lettuce recall is even more broad. Many grocers are removing all romaine from their shelves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered this advice:

Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

Reardon said the recalls cost local farmers, too, especially when the source of the contamination is not immediately clear.

"These kind of recalls where there are no particular brands or code or any type of branding information can be especially harmful to the marketplace and the ability for other farmers that are not associated with this to continue to market their products," he said.