Cal-Maine Foods, the nation’s largest distributor of shell eggs, said it was notified Friday by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that a routine environmental study sample of one the company’s suppliers, Ohio Fresh Eggs, had tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) almost a month earlier.

The Jackson, Mississippi-based Cal-Maine said it had purchased approximately 24,000 dozen unprocessed eggs from Ohio Fresh that were processed and re-packaged by the company’s Green Forest, Arkansas, facility between Oct. 9 and 12, 2010, yet the company said it was only notified Friday of the potential contamination.

The eggs involved, which were not produced from Cal-Maine flocks, were distributed to wholesalers and retailers in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

There have been no confirmed SE illnesses related to the purchased eggs.

In cooperation with the FDA, Cal-Maine said it immediately notified its customers and recalled specific Julian dates of shell eggs because they have the potential to be contaminated with SE. 

Consumers who believe they may have purchased potentially affected shell eggs should not eat them but can return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund, the company said in a news release.

Questions and concerns may also be directed to Cal-Maine’s corporate office at 1-866-276-6299 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CDT.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs.

 The company is the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States and sells the majority of its shell eggs in 29 states across the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.