FDA inspection report shows nauseating and filthy conditions at Iowa egg farms

Jenny Decker RN's picture
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The FDA released its inspection report today on the Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Egg farms.the Center for Science in the Publice Interest, a food advocacy group, called the FDA results "stomach churning." The results are nauseating and the filthy and disgusting conditions of the farms are likely responsible for the Salmonella outbreak. The Salmonella strain found in piles of manure and other places on the farm matched the strain in the contaminated eggs.

The inspection report on the egg farms describe deplorable conditions. Egg-producing hens were cage above four to eight feet deep manure pits. These pits sometimes had burst open outside doors. Rodents and other birds with their nests were found in the barns while some of the hens unable to get to a decent place to lay eggs simply laid them in the manure pits. Live flies abounded in these farms, with so many that one could not walk through the facilities without stepping on a bunch, crunching them under their feet. Even farmworkers went from hen house to hen house without cleaning their tools or changing their clothing. According to FoodConsumer, only sick hens produce sick eggs and it is obvious from these conditions that this may be a more widespread problem.

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FDA will inspect other egg-producing facilities

While it is unclear at this point what the FDA plans to do about the Iowa farms, it is clear that they will be performing inspections of other egg-producing facilities over the next 15 months. An FDA spokeswoman, Siobhan DeLancey states, "While we cannot disclose a list of inspection targets, some factors that we will take into consideration in compiling such a list include the size of the farm, the amount of eggs produced, history of violations, and connections to previous outbreaks."

The FDA has new egg safety rules that took effect in July, right before the outbreaks occurred. It is hopeful that this will help prevent another Salmonella outbreak.However, the FDA stated that the egg companies had been warned for over a year that they needed to be following the rules. The henhouses are aware that the FDA does so little inspections, that they do not follow the rules. Thus there has been no urgency or even need on the part of the egg producing farms to fix anything and the conditions remained "stomach churning."

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