Announcement of voluntary recalls prompted by food safety concerns have become increasingly familiar. In 2006, there were E. coli O157 infections from fresh spinach. In 2007, contamination of pet food by melamine sickened or killed an unknown number of pets and animals and presaged a much larger issue with melamine contamination of milk that impacted China and other countries in 2008. Then there was the outbreak of salmonella infections associated with peanut butter in 2008-2009.
Salmonella is back in the news, this time associated with eggs that have caused a significant increase in salmonella infections. The most recent set of events was kicked off on August 13 with the recall of more than 380 million eggs by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa although that number has since grown to more than 500 million eggs with the addition of a recall of 170 million eggs by Iowa's Hillandale Farms. Despite the recent practical advice from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to, "reject over-easy eggs," one is left with the sense that it will be very difficult to put Humpty Dumpty back together again given that many of the eggs in question will have long since been consumed.