Sitting down for breakfast in our last day in Athens, I decided to check my Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) alert.  This popped right out – "The CDC estimates that nearly 3 million eggs sold each year are contaminated with Salmonella bacteria."

There are approximately 192 egg producing companies with flocks of 75,000 hens or more, which represent about 95% of all the layers in the United States. As of July 1, those producers have new FDA guidelines they must follow:

– Buy chicks and young hens only from suppliers who monitor for Salmonella bacteria

– Establish rodent, pest control, and biosecurity measures to prevent spread of bacteria throughout the farm by people and equipment

– Conduct testing in the poultry house for Salmonella enteritidis. If the tests find the bacterium, a representative sample of the eggs must be tested over an eight-week time period (four tests at two-week intervals); if any of the four egg tests is positive, the producer must further process the eggs to destroy the bacteria, or divert the eggs to a non-food use

– Clean and disinfect poultry houses that have tested positive for Salmonella enteritidis

– Refrigerate eggs at 45 degrees F during storage and transportation no later than 36 hours after the eggs are laid (this requirement also applies to egg producers whose eggs receive a treatment, such as pasteurization).

Small farmers, those with less than 3,000 hens or those who sell directly to consumers, aren’t affected by the new regulations (I assume that the same bothersome statistics apply, however). Farmers with less than 50,000 hens but more than 3,000 will begin compliance on July 10, 2012, unless the eggs are treated in some way, or pasteurized.

Yesterday is was Mexican food, today eggs.  I’ll stick with coffee this morning.