Sonoma County so far has dodged a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds across the state and led to a massive recall of eggs, officials said Thursday.
From May 1 through Thursday, five cases of salmonella were reported in Sonoma County.
That's two more cases than were reported over the same period last year, said Dr. Mark Netherda, Sonoma County deputy public health officer.
Netherda said none of the cases reported this year have been tied to the egg recall, which involves the most common kind of salmonella, accounting for roughly 20 percent of all such food poisonings.
Almost 2,000 illnesses from the salmonella strain related to the recall were reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control between May and July, which is about 1,300 more than usual,
There have been at least 226 salmonella cases reported in California since July, which is about four times the usual number, said Mike Sicilia, a spokesman for the Department of Public Health.
About 380 million eggs from Iowa's Wright County Egg were a part of the recall, which was expanded Thursday to cover eggs produced through Aug. 17.
The new recall covers eggs packaged under the brand names of Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast and are marked with plant numbers P-1720 and P-1942, and a three-digit code ranging from 136 to 229.
A spokeswoman for Safeway said all eggs subject to the recall were removed from Northern California stores earlier this week. The stores sell eggs under the brand name Lucerne, which was not a part of the expanded recall announced Thursday.
Lucky and Food Max stores, which are owned by the same company, bought eggs from the Iowa farm, but only for a limited time earlier this summer, a spokesman said.
"We're pretty confident we don't have any more of these eggs on the shelves because their sell-by date was June," said Louie Yan.
Local chefs and restaurant owners were not surprised about the massive egg recall, pointing out that it just underscores the drawbacks of corporate farming.
Chef/owner Jeff Mall of Zin in Healdsburg, who raises egg-laying chickens at his own Eastside Farm, said the salmonella outbreak is a grim reminder of the ground-beef recalls.
"When you have an industrial-size food supply, when it's been consolidated so you can't tell where things come from, the problem is in the millions rather than on a small scale," he said. "But if you buy local and support small farms ... if there's ever an issue, it won't affect 10 million eggs."
At Barndiva in Healdsburg, owner Jil Hales sources the restaurant's free-range eggs from Early Bird Place in Healdsburg. She views the egg recall as the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the issue of food safety.
"I'm much more concerned about the comprehensive food safety bill being passed in Washington in the next few weeks," she said. "We need to really think about how we produce food and how we raise animals ... We're trying to produce a lot of food cheap."
Staff Writer Diane Peterson contributed to this story.