Wright County Egg Approved to Resume Egg Shipments to Consumers

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The US Food and Drug Administration has completed its inspections and testing on improvements made to Wright County Egg LLC facilities and has approved the company to resume egg production and shipment from two hen houses on one of its six farms. The company has not shipped shell eggs to consumers since the August 2010.

Wright County Farms Took Several Corrective Measures to Ensure Safety

Whole shell eggs from Wright County Egg were involved in a massive recall after an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to the farms sickened Americans in over 20 states earlier this year. The company was part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of some of the sickened patients and the FDA has been investigating health and safety violations on the farms.

Read: Lawsuits Filed Against Wright County Farms Due to Egg Salmonella

According to an FDA News Release, the agency conducted on-site inspections in October and November 2010 and has confirmed that the following corrective measures were taken to address the four pathways of contamination that may have contributed to the outbreak:

• The laying hens have been removed and the houses cleaned, sanitized and tested to ensure they are no longer contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE). A biosecurity plan has been implemented to minimize the risk of contamination from the still-closed hen houses and the company’s other farms.
• Infected pullets (young chickens) have been replaced with SE-negative and vaccinated pullets.
• The severe rodent problem that could have contaminated feed and egg-laying environments has been corrected and will be monitored on a weekly basis.
• The feed mills have been cleaned and disinfected, structural defects have been corrected, and the feed ingredients have tested negative for SE.

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“These extensive corrective actions address the significant contamination problems and support the resumption of distribution of eggs to the table market from these two hen houses,” said Don Kraemer, deputy director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.

The FDA will continue to work with Wright County Egg to ensure that similar corrective measures are implemented before permitting the resumption of shell egg shipments from the other hen houses and farms owned by the company.

Read: FDA's Egg Recall Investigation Focuses on Supplier Practices

In other food safety news, the University of Missouri is hopeful that a newly developed lab test will detect live Salmonella in poultry and eggs with faster and more accurate results. In recent research trials, the new test results were achieved in as little as 5 to 12 hours, where the current tests can take up to 5 days.

The test was developed by Azlin Mustapha, a food scientist and professor at the University’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and uses a technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This test amplifies a single gene found with the DNA of a particular organism, such as Salmonella bacteria.

Mustapha has also developed a similar test that detects E. coli O157 in beef products that has since been adopted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Also today: Read "Senate Passes S.510 Bill to Strengthen Food Safety"

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