UPDATE 9/2/10 @ 7:25 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass says his agency has stopped looking for eggs included in a multistate recall.
Douglass says state agriculture inspectors found potentially tainted eggs at 18 locations in West Virginia. But Thursday's announcement was accompanied by the news that Douglass has taken inspectors off the special egg patrol.
Douglass says the likelihood of finding more eggs subject to recall is diminishing and inspectors have gone back to regular tasks.
More than 550 million eggs from two Iowa farms were recalled in August after being linked to as many as 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning.
Department spokeswoman Kristy Bolen told The Independent the eggs were found on Friday after a complaint was filed. They have now been removed from store shelves.
The Ashland eggs may be the first recalled eggs found in the state. Bolen said health department officials had been told by the Food and Drug Administration that there were no recalled eggs in Kentucky. She said officials were surprised to find them on shelves at one Walmart and in the warehouse of a second.
Bolen said the eggs were likely on the shelves because of confusion over whether jumbo eggs were part of the recall.
A press release on Walmart's website said the recall affected nearly 630 of its stores in 20 states, including Kentucky.
The brand found at those stores was Sunny Farms. Anyone who purchased these eggs is urged to return them to the store where they were sold.
Recalled eggs have been linked to salmonella, a serious bacterial illness than can cause severe stomach and intestinal issues.
Agriculture officials say they discovered the recalled eggs Wednesday and Thursday at Foodland stores in Huntington, Milton, Barboursville and Scott Depot.
Commissioner of Agriculture Gus Douglass says on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said, "...that they didn't believe any recalled product had been shipped to West Virginia. That information proved to be wrong."
Scott Allen, who runs the Foodland store in Scott Depot, says his store alerted the state to the issue.
Additionally, officials say recalled eggs were distributed from the SUPERVALU warehouse in Milton.
SUPREVALU spokesperson Mike Siemienas released a statement saying, “At SUPERVALU the safety of our customers is our top priority. After being informed by Hillandale Farms that some recalled eggs were shipped to our Milton distribution center, we immediately removed the affected products from our supply chain and alerted the retail stores that we supply. We continue to closely monitor this situation and look to the manufacturer and health officials for further guidance.”
Agriculture officials plan to visit another warehouse in Huntington Friday that could also have recalled eggs.
Officials add that all places with recalled eggs have been cooperative with the agriculture department and have been destroying the recalled eggs. They also say some stores were pulling the eggs before inspectors arrived.
Douglass says the Hillandale brand appears to be the only recalled brand sold in West Virginia.
Shoppers are encouraged to check the packaging of their eggs for the following numbers:
The Julian date is the numerical day of the year the eggs were packaged.
Bonnie Smith shops at a Foodland store that's pulled recalled eggs and says the store has been very forthcoming about the issue.
"When you have the elderly and the young, and you're dealing with salmonella you have to take care of it," says Smith, referring to family members for whom she cares.
Other stores are being impacted in different ways.
Miguel Arce manages a Fas-Chek store in Charleston.
He's been getting a lot of questions about the recall, even though his store hasn't been affected.
That's why they put up a sign saying the store’s eggs come from Ohio, not from one of the places that’s the source of the contaminated eggs.
“[The customers’] questions are, 'Do you have bad eggs? Do you have sick eggs?' And, we don't have sick eggs," says Arce.
Herma Johnson is one of the people at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture overseeing the state’s response to the recall.
"The eggs are $2 a dozen. Don't worry about pitching $2 when you might have the possibility of being sick and going to the hospital and having additional expenses," says Johnson.
"For most people salmonella causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever,” says epidemiologist Suzanne Wilson.
She says those symptoms typically don't show up until at least 12 hours after eating a contaminated egg.
"[Symptoms] usually last about 48 to 72 hours, and most people recover without treatment," says Wilson.
WVDA is encouraging anyone who has purchased the recalled eggs to return them to the store where they were purchased and report the information to WVDA at 304-558-2208.
Egg producers that sell their goods at the Putnam County Farmer's Market are having a tough time keeping up with the demand for fresh eggs.
"I brought 13 dozen eggs, and 12 dozen are gone in less than 10 minutes. That's not normal," Margo White said.
With millions of eggs removed from grocery store shelves, it's a trend egg farmers have come to expect.
"A lot of consumers are looking for something closer to home, a little safer, a little fresher," Aimee Figgatt said. "It definitely opens people's eyes to food safety and shows them what we have to offer."
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture believes the immediate attention will pay off later for farmers, too.
"Once people buy some local eggs and see the difference in the freshness -- that's going to be the catalyst to lead people to produce more eggs in West Virginia," Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Tabb said.
The Putnam County Farmer's Market is trying to recruit more egg producers to help keep up with the demand.
Iowa's Hillandale Farms said Friday it was recalling more than 170 million eggs after laboratory tests confirmed salmonella. The company did not say if it is connected to Wright County Egg, another Iowa farm that recalled 380 million eggs earlier this week.
An FDA spokeswoman said the two recalls are related. The strain of salmonella poisoning is the same in both cases.
The eggs recalled Friday were distributed under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow, Wholesome Farms and West Creek. The new recall applies to eggs sold between April and August.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on the recall.