Anyone heard about this half billion or so eggs being recalled across the country all because one or possibly two egg farms have allowed some contaminated eggs into the production stream? If this is not yet another reason for locally produced ‘slow’ food I can not imagine what would be. In the words of Earl Pitts, “Wake up America!”
The quick run down on this story that is still developing works out something like this. A chicken egg production center (note my lack of the word farm, as it is much more an industry then a farm) has caused a salmonella outbreak. This one is pretty clearly the eggs in this case, unlike some previous cases where the culprit was hugely speculative. This particularly production center also either sold fertilized eggs or pullet (young chicks) to another farm. Both of them combined are now at in the cross hairs for a half billion egg recall across I believe seventeen states and at least thirteen hundred reported cases. Clearly there are still questions as to just exactly how the eggs are being contaminated, though the reported path would lead one to believe it is somehow being passed on from the laying hens to the eggs.
It gets worse of course. Because the shortage of eggs in a lot of the mid-west now, the price of a dozen eggs on the wholesale market has jumped up on average of 40%. Expect this price jump to fairly quickly be passed on to consumers. Of course, this shortage really does not make sense, as the amount of eggs in the recall is less the 1% of total yearly egg production nationally. Further, why is that places like New York City are seeing the price increase already?
Of course I admit fully to buying store eggs on occasion, though I grudgingly do that. I truly do miss my farm fresh eggs with their deep yellow, almost orange yolks, full of flavor. I have managed to pick up a good number of locally produced eggs of late, but the main two supplies of such have just dried up. That being said though, the taste and general quality, plus knowing where they came from makes it more than worth the slight increase in expense in my mind. Given the price increase noted above it makes even more sense now.
I still do not understand the need for such huge farming operations and I certainly see the problem with the food we eat being grown and produced in factory style settings. Shipped across the country from the production centers it leaves our food supply system open to many threats just like this one. Clearly a local producing supplying eggs to a few hundred folks would not be causing the severity of this outbreak of the same kind of strand somehow effected them. That would scale up to someone even producing eggs for an entire community of a few thousand mind you. And we can only imagine what would happen with large-scale transportation strike that lasted a few weeks or some sort of infrastructure problem that limited trucking and rail operations.
It gets worse. I just noted that my favorite (NOT) big box store now is reporting a salmonella outbreak that can be traced to the deli meats they use in the sandwiches they have available.
Clearly the choice is yours America, but you really need to consider your food and the food supply chain. I challenge all of you to by local as much as possible and pursue what is called slow food. This should be your wake up call to pursue that but I will give you an extra nudge in that direction.
** – Image from NY Daily News