Firm Involved in Recent Egg Recall Accused of Animal Abuse

The Humane Society of the United States just released a shocking undercover video that points to alleged animal abuse at the Cal-Maine farm located in Wawelder, Texas, said CNN. Cal-Maine is the largest US egg producer. Cal-Maine was the firm that recalled hundreds of thousands of eggs last month because of possible <"">Salmonella contamination.

A Humane Society investigator worked at farm for about one month this autumn, documenting a number of food safety infractions, said CNN, including—as recorded on the video—“shows dead birds, birds stuck in their cages, overcrowding, and what appears to be hens covered in feces,” wrote CNN. There is a section of video that, said CNN, “shows a dead bird as eggs roll by just inches away on a conveyor belt.”

The video was released at a news conference yesterday by Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s president and CEO who said, quoted CNN, “Our latest farm animal investigation documents inhumane treatment of laying hens and conditions that threaten food safety.” Pacelle also pointed out that Cal-Maine, based in Jackson, Mississippi, was unaware of the investigation and that the video was being made public for the first time. Pacelle said he didn’t know if the giant egg company had seen the video.

Cal-Maine issued the following response on it website, quoted CNN:

“Cal-Maine Foods has been a leader in accepting and implementing animal welfare measures. All of the Company’s facilities are operated in full compliance with existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permits. Each employee involved in the care and handling of our hens is required to review, sign and comply with our Company code of conduct regarding the ethical treatment of hens which requires employees to report any possible violations.”

We recently wrote that Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. was notified by the FDA that one of its suppliers, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC of Croton, Ohio, had a routine environmental study sample that tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis. Cal-Maine purchased approximately 24,000 dozen unprocessed eggs from Ohio Fresh. The eggs were processed and re-packaged by the Company’s Green Forest, Arkansas, facility between October 9 and 12, 2010.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. announced a recall of nearly 300,000 eggs earlier last month, which it later expanded.

According to the FDA, Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing, and sale of fresh shell eggs. The Company, which is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the U.S. and sells the majority of its shell eggs in approximately 29 states across the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western, and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.

In another egg scandal, over a-half billion eggs were recalled following a Salmonella outbreak that originated in an Iowa farm.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSI), explained that chickens can pass the Salmonella pathogen to eggs, pointing out that eggs leave the hens’ bodies “through the same passageway as feces,” wrote CNN. Also, said the FSIS, the pathogen in hens’ ovary or oviduct can reach eggs prior to the shell being formed, said CNN.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of Salmonella and other food borne pathogenic outbreaks is available at <"">

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