Eggs from the two Iowa farms at the heart of a salmonella scare could still make it into your shopping basket — but not in the way you'd think.
The producers responsible for a recall of some 550 million potentially tainted eggs have found another outlet for the inventory that just keeps coming: They’ll turn them into liquid eggs used in everything from cookies and cakes to egg substitutes and pet food.
Patricia El-Hinnawy, a spokeswoman for the federal Food and Drug Administration, confirmed Wednesday that Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms will send recalled eggs and ongoing inventories of eggs to so-called "breaking plants" to be processed and sold.
FDA and Animal science experts say the eggs will be pasteurized, a process that indisputably kills the salmonella bacteria responsible for infections that have sickened at least 1,300 people.
And officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say that lots of the eggs suspected in the outbreak will be segregated from other eggs and subjected to a new, second inspection to ensure that no salmonella remains.
Still, experts concede that the move to send previously tainted eggs into the market might not sit well with a public worried about food poisoning.
"There's a possibility that consumers could overreact and consider them not safe when they really are," said Patricia Y. Hester, a professor of animal sciences at Purdue University. "There could be a public perception problem. There usually is."