As eggs reached record-high prices in the U.S., the strain on some households elsewhere worsened amid a recall. In late January, Australian company Watson Family Produce Pty Ltd recalled Watson Family Produce Pasture Raised Free Range Eggs due to possible salmonella contamination.
Consumers were alerted to the recall via a notice posted by Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (the region's government agency that's comparable to the U.S. FDA or USDA) on Jan. 21. Affected by the recall are Watson Family Produce Pasture Raised Free Range Eggs packaged in 350-gram and 700-gram sizes. Only products with Best Before dates up to and including 25 Feb 2023 are included in the recall. The recalled eggs were sold at Harris Farms in West End, Clayfield and Surfers Paradise Queensland, independent food retailers including IGA in Queensland, and Woolworths in Queensland.
According to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand's report, the recall was issued "due to potential microbial (Salmonella) contamination." In a statement, the company explained that a week prior to the formal recall, it "found out we had a potential connection to cases of Salmonella illness in our local community." Amid concerns, "Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) and Safe Food Queensland (SFQ) conducted an assessment of the farm and its procedures, and undertook environmental sampling of every chicken coop and the egg packing areas," with initial results identifying "a low number of positive Salmonella detections and now we wait to find out the particular strain." Consumption of products contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a common foodborne illness. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, and typically occur within 12 to 72 hours of consumption. While most people recover within four to seven days and do not require treatment, in rare cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, requiring the individual to be hospitalized.
Due to the risk salmonella contamination poses, consumers have been advised not to eat the recalled products. The products should instead be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.
While Watson Family Produce Pty Ltd's recall only affected consumers in Australia, consumers in the U.S. have had their fair share of egg-related issues. A combination of inflation, which has impacted practically all items at the grocery store, and the deadliest bird flu outbreak in U.S. history has resulted in the price of eggs to soar. A Consumer Price Index released in January reported the price of eggs was up 60% in December over a year earlier, which resulted in the cost of a carton of eggs to soar to $4.25. However, new reports suggest that consumers may start seeing some relief. According to Urner Barry data, per CNBC, wholesale egg prices have fallen by more than 50% since December, suggesting that retail egg prices may soon follow.