Monday, August 30, 2010

Unscrambling The Egg Mess: FDA Releases Inspection Reports

Salmonella Enteritidis found in samples from Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa, Inc.

FDA has just released its preliminary inspection reports (Form 483) summarizing observations made at nine separate locations belonging to Quality Egg LLC (Wright County Egg) and to Hillandale Farms of Iowa, Inc.

Federal inspectors found six Salmonella Enteritidis positive samples at Wright County Egg:
  1. a manure swab from Plant ID#1946
  2. a manure scraper blade sample from Plant ID#P1946
  3. a walkway swab sample from Plant ID#P1413
  4. a sample of meat and bone meal collected from an ingredient bin at the company's Galt, Iowa feed mill
  5. a sample of "Developer" pullet feed collected from the feed mill
  6. a sample collected from a roof-level covered ingredient bin chute and a 2nd-floor ingredient bin cover at the feed mill

If these Salmonella Enteritidis results weren't damning enough, consider the following partial list of additional observations, recorded at various Wright County Egg/Quality Egg operations:
  • Chicken manure located in the manure pits below the egg laying operations was approximately 4 feet to 8 feet high in some places in laying houses located in Galt and Clarion.
  • Exterior structural damage allowing entrance to the interior of the laying houses in Galt and Clarion.
  • Rodent burrows along baseboards inside the laying houses.
  • Uncaged birds (escaped chickens) observed in contact with egg laying hens. The uncaged birds used the manure piles to gain access to the laying area.
  • Access to the entry to a pair of laying houses blocked due to excessive amounts of manure in the manure pits.
  • Live mice in the laying houses.
  • Flies on and around egg belts, feed, shell eggs and walkways; live and dead fly maggots on the manure pit floor under one laying house.
  • Birds roosting and flying in the feed storage and milling facility; nesting material found in the feed mill closed mixing system, ingredient storage and truck filling areas.
  • Feed ingredient bins with rusted holes; feed grain level sensors ajar to the outdoors.

While FDA inspectors "only" found a single Salmonella Enteritidis-positive sample (spent water from an egg wash station) at a Hillandale plant, the rest of the picture is not much prettier than the scene at Wright County Egg. For example:
  • numerous unsealed rodent holes at the Plant ID#1860 location
  • holes protruding into the manure pit and gaps on manure pit doors at the Plant ID#1663 location
  • standing water on the floor adjacent to the manure pit where a foot bath was located
  • liquid manure leaking into a section of a laying house
  • liquid manure streaming out of a gap in a manure pit door
  • uncaged hens tracking manure from the manure pit into the caged area of two hen houses.

Under these conditions of gross contamination, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa produced shell eggs, which were then supplied to wholesalers, distributors, re-packagers, retailers and food service operators across the United States.

This is not simply non-compliance. It is gross negligence. And there can be no excuse for it.

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1 comment:

  1. I read that shell egg businesses usually weren't inspected unless there were problems. How are the problems known, let alone common practices and the riks they bring, if there are no inspections? I'm betting there will be another massive recall of eggs once the inspections begin.


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