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Fresh eggs from recall farms being pasteurized, processed

By the CNN Wire Staff
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  • New eggs from the farms are being pasteurized, processed at facilities
  • Federal inspectors have stepped up testing
  • Pasteurization kills bacteria responsible for salmonella

(CNN) -- Fresh eggs being produced by farms at the heart of a massive recall are making their way to consumers via facilities that pasteurize the eggs, process them and rid them of any possible salmonella.

"The fresh eggs from the recalled farms are being diverted to USDA-approved facilities for pasteurization," Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Patricia El-Hinnawy said Wednesday.

A half-billion eggs were recalled by Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms during the salmonella scare.

Fresh eggs produced at those farms since the recall are being sold to "breaking plants" that break the eggshells, pasteurize the eggs and turn them into liquid or other form used in a variety of products, officials said.

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  • Food Safety
  • Salmonella

Pasteurization kills the salmonella bacteria, officials said.

Caleb Weaver, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the approximately 50 "breaking plants" are not new. But the federal monitoring of them has been "stepped up" since the salmonella outbreak, which has been linked to hundreds of illnesses.

Every lot, or batch, of eggs suspected of being contaminated will be tested and will not be shipped out until test results are back and negative, Weaver said.

Hillandale Farms' 2 million hens have been producing nearly 2 million eggs a day, said spokeswoman Julie DeYoung. She said the company is not currently selling shell eggs during a federal investigation of the source of the salmonella.

Federal health officials will determine if the hens are carrying the disease. But pasteurization of the eggs at the "breaking plants" will kill salmonella bacteria, regardless of whether the hens are infected.

"Hillandale is committed to providing safe and wholesome products to the American public," said DeYoung, adding that Hillandale is not sending recalled eggs to the "breaking plants."

CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this article.