That is the number of eggs being recalled because of a salmonella outbreak linked back to two major chicken farms in Iowa. 500 million (or half a billion) is a lot of eggs. Haven't heard yet? Well, you can read about it here.
Usually, I just run by recalls like this. I feel like I am blessed enough to avoid food poisoning and well, why would I want to panic because of a couple of bad eggs? But 500,000,000 is a lot of eggs, and we put eggs into everything--breakfast foods, baked goods, dinners. Our family eats a lot of eggs. I don't want us to get sick. Maybe this time I should pay attention.
Oh, but wait. I can breath a huge sigh of relief. Because every other week I get my eggs from a local farmer. His "girls" have access to dirt and grubs. I don't fear an outbreak of illness from my eggs.
Or my honey or beef products or much of my produce.
And this is why I eat and promote and preserve and purchase local food. Because not only does it taste better and is often raised in better conditions, but because I have a relationship with the farmer and the land that produced them.
That makes everything taste better.
Especially my eggs tomorrow morning.