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Salmonella-tainted eggs from big producer in Iowa have sickened at least 1,200

An Iowa egg producer is recalling 228 million eggs after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning. They were sold across the country and packaged under a number of names.

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The cases found so far have been in people who became ill after eating eggs at restaurants, said Christopher R. Braden, the head of CDC's division of foodborne diseases. Among the earlier states to investigate such multiple-victim outbreaks were Minnesota, California and Colorado.

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There are almost certainly many "sporadic" cases -- single illnesses in people who ate eggs at home -- that have not been reported and probably never will be. There have been no reports of death, he added, although it is likely some people have required hospital stays.

"I think we'll probably get reports of a significant number more cases," Braden said.

For May, June and July, the CDC's database of salmonella enteritidis cases submitted by state health departments contained bacterial samples from 1,953 illnesses. For that same period over the previous five years, there had been on average 700 cases, Braden said.

While some of the restaurant-linked cases occurred as long ago as May, the realization that there was a national outbreak underway didn't become clear until mid-July, said McGarry, the FDA official. The egg products consumed in different restaurants were not the same.

Hens can pick up salmonella by eating feed contaminated with rodent feces that contains the bacterium. Once infected, they can lay both infected and uninfected eggs. The bacterium appears to be concentrated in the white more than the yolk. Cooking the egg so no liquid remains kills it.

The company said its eggs covered by the expanded recall this week are packaged under the following brand names: Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralphs, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast.

The earlier recall was for eggs sold under the brands Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralphs, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.

Details about how to identify the recalled eggs are at http://fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm223139.htm.

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