Tainted eggs in recall tied to illnesses in 6 in Minn.

Health officials have linked six cases of salmonella to contaminated organic eggs from an Owatonna farm.

A strain of salmonella connected to the illnesses was detected in eggs produced by the Larry Schultz Organic Farm, according to the Minnesota departments of health and agriculture. The farm is cooperating with the investigation and has issued a voluntary recall of the eggs.

The six, who were children and adults, became ill between Aug. 12 and Sept. 24. Half were hospitalized but have since recovered. Five of the six reported they ate eggs from the Larry Schultz Organic Farm sold at grocery stores or co-ops.

The strain of salmonella common to all six was identified after the illnesses were routinely reported to the Minnesota Department of Health. It's the same strain that was found by the Department of Agriculture after environmental testing at Larry Schultz Organic Farm.

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Salmonella can cause serious and even fatal infections, particularly in children and older adults.

Health Department epidemiologist Trisha Robinson said salmonella can affect all kinds of eggs, regardless of whether they're conventional, organic or free-range.

"It's just a great reminder for every egg consumer that they should thoroughly cook their eggs and that means that both the yolk and the white should be cooked thoroughly through until they are firm," she said.

Robinson said consumers who believe they may have purchased these eggs from the Larry Schultz Organic farm should not eat them. Instead, they return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.

Eggs were sent to restaurants, grocery stores, food wholesalers and food service companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

The eggs are packaged under the the brand names Lunds & Byerlys Organic, Kowalski's Organic, and Larry Schultz Organic Farm. Eggs are packed in bulk and varying sizes of cartons.

Full descriptions and a list of stores are on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's website.