By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Super Value's owner yesterday moved to ease consumer concerns following a voluntary recall of eggs produced by US-based Rose Acre Farms, saying: "We're not in the bad egg business."
Rupert Roberts, pictured, told Tribune Business: "We get the same brand over time; we don't change. We get our eggs from Hillandale. We don't purchase the brand that's being recalled. We're not in the bad egg business."
The Department of Agriculture issued a statement yesterday advising the public of the voluntary recall of eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms' Hyde Country Farm. "The Bahamas has been determined by the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) as one of the international locations the recalled eggs were distributed," the Ministry added.
"These eggs were sold under multiple brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, Sunshine Farms, Publix and Sunups."
The Department acknowledged that a social media image was circulating, purporting to show contaminated eggs were being sold by a Bahamian retailer. "We wish to advise the public that our inspectors have reviewed the batch information on the cartons on the shelves, and have determined that they are not from the original recall list," it said.
"The Department advises, however, that the public exercise due caution and inspect the numbers carefully in the event that products on the shelf are added to the expanded list."
Consumers and retailers have been urged to check carton or packing of their eggs for the following; Plant number P-1065; Lot code or Julian date between 011-102; Plant number P-1359D; Julian Date 048A or 049A; Best by dates APR 02 and APR 03.
"Plant numbers and Julian dates are printed on individual boxes, with the Julian date following the Plant number: For example P-1359D-048A," the Department said. "Consumers should do the following: Do not eat any shell eggs from the lots listed above. If they have any of the above products they are advised to discard the product or return to their place of purchase.
"Practice safe food handling and preparation measures. Wash hands, utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw eggs and raw egg containing foods. Preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially-contaminated eggs should be thoroughly cleaned."
Mr Roberts yesterday also addressed concerns over the cost of eggs being sold locally. "The price of eggs is so high is because the duty is so high. It's 30 per cent, and they allow us 10 per cent, which doesn't cover our refrigeration and breakage," he explained.
"We don't have enough of a mark-up on eggs. The retail industry shouldn't be selling them because we're losing money, but the Government is making money and the consumer blames the retailer when they see the prices. It never occurs to them that we have to pay exorbitant duty."
The duty on imported eggs was increased to 30 per cent under the Christie administration in a bid to help Bahamian egg producers. Some told Tribune Business at the time, however, that it was 'too little, too late' to save a Bahamian egg-producing industry that had essentially been wiped out, meaning that consumers would still have to purchase imported eggs at a higher cost.