Thursday, August 19, 2010

Egg Recall Expands; CDC Expects More Illnesses

   From WebMD today:

As the nationwide egg recall expands, the FDA has activated its emergency command center to direct its "extensive" investigation.

So far, some 380 million eggs have been recalled -- a number that is "evolving," Sherri McGarry, emergency coordinator for the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said today at a joint FDA/CDC news teleconference.

"We would certainly characterize this as one of the largest shell egg recalls in recent history," McGarry said.

   ...the article goes on to say...

The FDA investigation is centered on five plants operated by the Iowa firm Wright County Egg. The firm distributes the eggs nationwide. Eggs included in the recall include a number of prominent brands.

   Okay, okay, okay, okay... Somebody please explain to me how this centralized, mass-market food system is supposed to be safer? 380 million eggs (380,000,000), nationwide, including "a number of prominent brands" -- and they all came from only five (or possibly fewer) places operating under one company?!?

   Follow me for a minute. If many small farmers operated on a diverse, local scale and there was an outbreak it might affect a few hundred eggs and maybe a hundred households. The problem would be small and a recall would be fairly inexpensive and quick. Instead what we have is a single operation -- Wright County Egg in Iowa -- affecting millions of people across the country, dozens of businesses, and is going to cost an unthinkable amount of money just to get control over the issue.

   We have a "bigger is better" mentality in this country that needs to be overcome.

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