Worried Customers Turn to Farmers Markets for Eggs

By Elvira Sakmari
|  Monday, Aug 23, 2010  |  Updated 11:47 PM CDT
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Going Local for Eggs

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Going Local for Eggs

North Texans are going local for eggs, or heeding advice to stay away from raw eggs after a massive salmonella scare.
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As a recall of more than 550 million eggs tied to two industrial manufacturers in Iowa widens, sales of locally-produced eggs at farmers’ markets reportedly spiked over the weekend.

New customers just don't want to take a chance as the latest salmonella scare grows.

"We definitely are selling more eggs lately," said a worker at the Ridgmar Farmers' Market in Fort Worth. "People are wondering if they're fresh, where they're from."

In Texas, state health officials have been tracking the spike in salmonella reports since mid-May. 165 cases have been spread out over 41 counties across the state. There have been 13 cases in Tarrant County, 10 in Collin County, 7 in Dallas County and 5 in Denton County.

Of those cases, as many as 35 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, could be linked to bad eggs. But the health department also estimate only one in 30 cases is ever reported.

At gourmet groceries like Eatzis, eggs are in everything from specialty salads to baked goods, but
Executive Chef Jay Valley said they're simply not using raw eggs in anything anymore.

Eatzi's no longer makes its famous eclairs or creme puffs because raw eggs are needed, and instead of regular whole eggs, chefs are using pasteurized and so-called liquid eggs believed to be much safer.

"When you are in the food production business its the smart thing to do you don't have to worry about anything," said Valley.

Until the scare is over, doctors say it's a good idea not to take any chances.

"I say to all may patients you treat all eggs as if they are contaminated," said family physician Dr. Jill Waggoner. "So you just don't take the chance, you just don't eat raw eggs right now."

The Food and Drug Administration also recommends you buy pasteurized eggs, insisting they are much safer than regular whole eggs.

NBCDFW's Grant Stinchfield and Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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