More than 200 million eggs from a North Carolina farm operated by Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms have been recalled because of bacterial contamination.
A notice posted on the Food & Drug Administration website Friday says the eggs shipped to restaurants and grocery stores in nine states may be tainted with salmonella. The bacteria causes nausea, diarrhea and, in rare cases, death. Twenty-two illnesses have been reported.
"Consumers with these eggs shouldn't eat them," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter. "Throw them away or return them to place of purchase for credit or refund."
The eggs were distributed from a farm in eastern North Carolina's Hyde County by Seymour-based Rose Acre.
The notice said Rose Acre Farms was voluntarily recalling the eggs "through an abundance of caution." A company spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking further comment Sunday.
The recall came about after the illnesses were reported and the FDA inspected the North Carolina farm. Gottlieb said the agency's testing connected the recalled eggs to the people who got sick.
The recall notice said the eggs reached consumers in the following states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia through retail stores and restaurants via direct delivery.
Rose Acre Farms is the second largest egg producer in the United States and employs about 2,000 people.
The notice lists varieties of a Food Lion store brand as well as some cartons available as the Great Value brand, which is sold at Walmart. The recall also lists eggs that were distributed to the Waffle House restaurant chain.
Food Lion has pulled the recalled eggs from shelves of the approximately 400 stores where they were available, said spokeswoman Emma Inman.
"The eggs that are in the stores today are safe," she said by phone. She said she didn't have information on whether Food Lion customers were among those who got sick.
Company officials at Walmart and Waffle House didn't immediately respond to messages Sunday seeking comment.