2 Iowa Farms Recall 550 Million Tainted Eggs

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Two Iowa farms have recalled 550 million eggs linked to a salmonella outbreak. While the recall spells bad news for those farms, it may be boosting prices for other egg producers. Since the recall, wholesale egg prices increased by about 30 percent.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Egg prices, meanwhile, are moving higher. More than half a billion eggs have been recalled in this country, due to a salmonella outbreak. Government scrutiny is now focused on two farms in Iowa.

Iowa Public Radio's Kathleen Masterson has more.

KATHLEEN MASTERSON: The two Iowa farms, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, are the only ones now linked to the disease outbreak. Business analyst Maro Ibarburu at the Egg Industry Center estimates the value of the recalled eggs to be as much as $29 million.

Mr. MARO IBARBURO (Egg Industry Center): I dont know how solvent they are, but economically its a big impact for anyone.

MASTERSON: Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute says most large food companies have product liability insurance. Still, Barry says, the size of recall is very unusual.

Mr. MICHAEL BARRY (Vice president, media relations, Insurance Information Institute): Theres probably a mad scramble going on now to figure out, well, hey, are we covered for this?

MASTERSON: While Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms are hurting, other egg producers are seeing an increase in business. Since the recall, wholesale egg prices increased by about 30 percent. In just the past two weeks, the amount of recalled eggs equals nearly four percent of Iowas annual egg production.

For NPR News, Im Kathleen Masterson in Ames, Iowa.

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