Salmonella found at Iowa farm over 400 times in last two years

As reported in AAJ News Brief for September 15, 2010. From the desk of John Badal, personal injury lawyer, Reading, Berks County, PA.

The Los Angeles Times (9/15, Zajac) reports, “An Iowa egg producer involved in the biggest egg recall in US history received a positive test result for Salmonella enteritidis on Aug. 4, more than a week before the Food and Drug Administration confirmed the bacteria’s presence and pressed the company to launch the recall, according to records released Tuesday by congressional investigators.” In addition, the records “indicate that in the two years leading up to the recall, testing at Wright County Egg found more than 400 positive tests for some strains of salmonella, including 73 samples that were potentially positive for Salmonella enteritidis, the strain responsible for sickening more than 1,500 consumers.”

The Washington Post (9/15, Layton) notes, “The presence of bacteria inside a farm facility does not necessarily mean the eggs are infected, and it is unclear whether Wright County Egg violated good industry practices or new federal egg rules, which took effect in July.” Nevertheless, “in a letter sent Tuesday to Austin DeCoster, owner of Wright County Egg, Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) called the records ‘disturbing.'” Waxman also wrote, “We ask that you come prepared to explain why your facilities tested potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis contamination on so many occasions, what steps you took to address the contamination identified in these test results, and whether you shared these results with FDA or other federal or state food safety officials.”

On the front page of its Business Day section, the New York Times (9/15, B1, Harris, Neuman) reports, “Wright County Egg and another company, Hillandale Farms, recalled more than 500 million eggs last month after health officials traced salmonella bacteria to those companies. A subsequent inspection by the Food and Drug Administration found that the barns of the egg producers were infested with flies, maggots and rodents, and had overflowing manure pits.” These “inspections were the first by the FDA to check compliance with new federal egg safety rules that were written well before the current outbreak and went into effect in July.”

The Wall Street Journal (9/15, Tomson) reports that Wright County Egg has stated that it will “fully respond” to lawmakers’ concerns and requests. Meanwhile, FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said, “This is an ongoing investigation, and FDA continues to review records and evaluate the results of our inspections. Our immediate concern is public health, and FDA is not commenting at this time regarding the details.”

CNN (9/15) reported, “Food and Drug Administration inspectors reported in August that neither Wright County nor Hillandale fully followed their plans to prevent Salmonella enteritidis.”

Liever, Hyman & Potter, lawyers in Reading, PA have been representing clients in injury and death cases for more than 50 years in Berks County and Schuylkill County . Our law practice includes work injuries, accidents, defective products and nursing home and medical malpractice.

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