Farmers’ Market Eggs Just As Likely to Contain Salmonella

New study shows that leading foodborne pathogen does not discriminate by flock size.


Food Safety News is reporting that eggs sourced from small flocks of chickens are just as likely to contain salmonella as those sourced from large. The findings come from a new study led by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, who collected more than 6,000 eggs from 200 sources throughout Pennsylvania. The research focused on salmonella contamination found in both grocery store eggs—those typically derived from flocks of 3,000 chickens or more—as well as eggs from small flocks of less than 3,000 chickens, which are often sold directly to restaurants, health food stores, farmers’ markets, and on roadside stands. Salmonella enteritidis, which is one of the leading foodborne pathogens in the United States and can cause fever and stomach cramps, and is currently only monitored in eggs from large flocks. “The bottom line is, if you buy your eggs from the small producers, you need to worry about salmonella just as if you bought eggs produced by large flocks,” says lead researcher Subhashinie Kariyawasam. Salmonella infections can become life-threatening—particularly in infants, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.