Investigation Reveals Egg Safety Flaws in Iowa

IOWA, US - An investigation has revealed flaws in the egg safety inspection system in the state, which was at the centre of a major food safety recall last year.
calendar icon 31 August 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

An investigation by the Des Moines Register has revealed gaps in state and federal egg safety systems, despite new federal regulations designed to reduce Salmonella in shell eggs, according to a report last week.

According to CIDRAP, the paper's review of records it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act found that some of the state's biggest egg producers are not meeting minimum federal standards designed to reduce the risk of Salmonella enteritidis contamination. For example, the investigation found that egg farm inspections are announced days in advance and that egg producers are not required to tell government inspectors or state officials when tests for Salmonella are positive. Inspectors at one farm, which was visited by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors in May for the first time, had "immediate concerns" about its written Salmonella prevention plan.

In other instances, the Register found that FDA redacted some findings, such as the size of rodent infestations and brand names under which the eggs are sold.

FDA officials did not comment for the story.

Iowa, the nation's top egg producer, has had no egg recalls since the massive one in 2010 that sickened nearly 2,000 people in several states. New federal egg safety rules came into effect in 2010 for the largest farms – those that have 50,000 or more laying hens.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report in Des Moines Register by clicking here.
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