Six people have fallen ill with salmonellosis. No deaths have been reported. The people fell ill between August 12 and September 24.
The Minnesota Department of Health traced the illnesses back to Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owatonna, Minnesota. The eggs were sold in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan under the brands Lunds & Byerly’s Organic, Kowalski’s Organic, and Larry Schultz Organic Farm.
The list of items included in the recall can be found on the FDA’s recall page.
Larry Schultz Organic Farm
Larry Schultz Organic Farm specializes in organic eggs, chickens, and turkeys. The birds live a free-range, cage-free life. His own farm doesn’t have enough pasture for all his birds, so Mr. Schultz rents pasture from local farmers.
The chickens sleep in a barn in four sections of six hundred. Industrial chicken farms keep up to 56,000 birds in the same amount of space.
While he has always farmed much as his parents did, in 1997, he decided to become certified organic so that customers would know what sort of farm he was running.
Pasture-Based vs. Industrial Egg Farming
A pathogen like salmonella is just as dangerous whether a person gets it from organic or conventional eggs, but let’s just look at the difference between this egg recall and the half billion egg recall from last year.
- This pasture-based egg recall: one month, six people ill
Last year’s industrial egg recall: six months, approximately 1939 people ill (approximately 323 people ill per month)
- This pasture-based egg recall: few thousand eggs in three states
Last year’s industrial egg recall: half billion eggs in at least twenty-two states and Mexico
- This pasture-based egg recall: less than 2500 birds affected. (There’s no news on whether the contamination is an infection of the birds, or if the eggs were contaminated another way.)
Last year’s industrial egg recall: millions of birds affected
Industrial agriculture’s efficiencies serve to magnify problems like this. Do what makes you feel safe, but please don’t abandon humane methods of raising animals because of this one recall. Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are still less likely to be contaminated with salmonella.
Image by MinimalistPhotography101, used with Creative Commons license.