Salmonella Egg Farms Harbored Filth, FDA Inspections Find

An 8-foot-high manure pile is just some of the filth found at one of two egg producers associated with a nationwide outbreak of <"">Salmonella. Other unappetizing discoveries found by Food & Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors at Iowa’s Wright County Egg, also known as Quality Egg, included rodent, fly, maggot, and wild bird infestations.

According to WebMD, inspectors also observed farm workers traveling from henhouse to henhouse without cleaning their tools or changing their shoes or clothing, and uncaged birds that tracked manure from manure pits to the laying houses. At the second Iowa egg producer linked to the outbreak, Hillandale Farms, inspectors uncovered unsealed rodent holes and live rodents entering facilities, as well as standing water and liquid manure leaking into a section of the floor.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the findings were detailed on Form 483 reports for both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. They “indicate inspectors’ observations only and don’t constitute a final ruling on any violations of FDA regulations,” the Journal said.

The FDA inspections covered six farms operated by Wright County Egg/ Quality Egg, and three Hillandale Farms locations. The inspections were conducted in August, after new egg safety rules went into effect. According to CNN, inspectors said neither company fully adhered to their Salmonella enteritidis prevention plans

Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms have recalled more than half a billion eggs due to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it has received a total of 2,403 reports of Salmonella Enteritidis around the U.S. from May 1 to August 25, 2010. The agency said it would normally expect approximately 933 total illnesses during this same period. This means that there are approximately 1,470 reported illnesses that are likely to be associated with tainted eggs, according to the CDC. The same Salmonella strain associated with the outbreak was subsequently identified in environmental samples at Wright County Egg and in feed used by both Wright and Hillandale.

According to WebMD, during at teleconference held yesterday, FDA officials refused to say whether the findings detailed by the 483 reports are uncommon at large egg-producing facilities. However, as we reported yesterday, the Salmonella outbreak has prompted the FDA to launch inspections of 600 large egg farms that produce 80 percent of the nation’s eggs. The inspections, which are slated to begin in September, will target farms that have 50,000 or more hens. Inspectors will be looking for safety violations that could increase the chance of Salmonella entering the egg supply.

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