The salmonella outbreak resulting in a massive recall of eggs has caused many safety experts to question the federal government’s regulatory role. The criminal division of the Food and Drug Administration and the Justice Department have joined the probe of the Iowa farm at the heart of the egg recall linked to an outbreak of salmonella. There appears to be a formal investigation going on that extends beyond the FDA inspections that are focused on farm practice. The FBI has visited facilities of Wright County Egg, a major egg producer that recalled 380 million eggs in mid-August, and Hillandale Farms, the second producer involved in the recall.
As of mid-September, over 1,500 cases of salmonella had been reported to federal health authorities since late spring. The FDA has said that the strain of salmonella found in the patients was identified in samples of Wright’s chicken feed and in a few places on the farm. It released a report detailing numerous sanitation problems at Wright County Egg and its parent company, Quality Egg LLC, which makes feed for Wright and another company involved in the recall, Hillandale Farms of Iowa. The FDA says it is working with the companies to make sure that they clean up the subpar practices, and that eggs do not go back into the marketplace that are not safe. The agency is also trying to make sure that there aren’t further recalls that will need to be taken “in order to fully ensure that the public is protected.”
Government reports on conditions at the two Iowa egg producers at the center of a recall of 550 million eggs paint a grim picture. One report described Wright County Egg as filthy, rat and fly-infested and so overflowing with manure that in several cases doors could not be closed. The other, Hillandale Farms, had multiple unsealed rodent holes into its henhouses, liquid manure leaking from a manure pit and as many as 50 escaped hens tracking manure into the henhouse. This serious safety problem concerning eggs sold commercially should make Congress do all that is necessary to make sure that the food we eat on a daily basis is as safe as possible. It’s most obvious that there is much work to be done.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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