The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that hundreds of people have been sickened in the outbreak, which appears to have started in May.
"We're speculating they could have had a highly infected flock or the product could have been mishandled, but we don't really know," says Mindy Brashears, a professor of food safety at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
The Food and Drug Administration has new egg-safety rules that went into effect July 9 for producers with more than 50,000 hens. Smaller producers have two more years to prepare. The rules set new procedures for testing for Salmonella enteritidis and requirements for pasteurization if tests are positive. Rodent- and pest-control measures must be in place in poultry houses, which must be disinfected before new hens are added.
This is old hat to egg producers in Sweden and Denmark, which virtually eliminated Salmonella from all poultry beginning in the 1970s. They tested flocks and if any came up positive, they would be slaughtered. American experts say such draconian programs don't make sense because Salmonella is widely distributed in the environment, and the possibility of recontamination is high.
It's a question of whether to keep the disease out or deal with it later via testing and pasteurization. Europe in general roots out the problem, the United States tends to look for post-harvest solutions.
Aporte: María José Cires