Eggs subject to a national recall have been found at 18 locations in West Virginia after Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass asked West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) inspectors to divert from regular duties and focus exclusively on egg surveillance.
“Stores have been very cooperative and either removed recalled product, or told inspectors they had already found and destroyed recalled product,” said Commissioner Douglass. “The likelihood of finding more eggs from this particular recall is rapidly diminishing, as out-of-date eggs are routinely removed from shelves.”
Inspectors have returned to regular duties, he said, such as ensuring that grocery stores keep coolers at appropriate temperatures, “candling” eggs to be sure they meet the grade stated on their cartons, dairy sampling, warehouse sanitation inspections, inspecting aquaculture producers and analyzing feed, seed, fertilizer and lime.
The egg inspection blitz began after routine inspections by the WVDA’s Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Division (READ) and consumer calls revealed that recalled product was present in West Virginia, even though officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believed no recalled product had been shipped to West Virginia. READ visited more than 160 stores statewide in connection with the recall.
“What’s important is that our state food safety system worked. Even though we didn’t think recalled product was here, we alerted our inspectors in the field, and in the course of their regular duties they found some of that product,” said Commissioner Douglass.
Numerous large food recalls in recent years have shaken consumer confidence, but Douglass said that overall, the food supply in this country is very safe. However, food-borne pathogens are a possibility even without a recall.
“There is always a chance of encountering a food-borne pathogen. One thing the consumer can control is how they handle food once they get it home. They should store it at the correct temperature, cook it thoroughly and take steps to minimize cross-contamination – these are things they can do to keep themselves safe,” Commissioner Douglass noted.
He said anyone who thinks they are a victim of food poisoning should contact the local health department. Consumers or stores that receive a recalled product at any time should contact WVDA-READ at 304-558-2208.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs, as mandated by state law. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials in West Virginia. For more information, visit www.wvagriculture.org.
Gus R. Douglass