Thursday, September 2, 2010

Salmonella in Eggs: Let the Blames Begin

"More Egg Recall News: Companies Point Fingers on Salmonella Contamination"
Katherine Hobson, Health Blog, The Wall Street Journal (September 1, 2010)

"FDA officials may have released inspection reports - which included observations of vermin and other unsanitary conditions - on the two farms at the hub of the humongous egg recall, but the agency has not yet identified the precise source of the salmonella outbreak.

"Now one of the farms and its feed supplier each suggest the other is the problem, the WSJ reports. Wright County Egg, which recalled 380 million eggs and where the bulk of the nasties in the FDA's reports were observed, has suggested the problem may be tainted bone meal, a feed component purchased from a supplier. Not surprisingly its Minnesota-based supplier, Central Bi-Products, begs to differ, saying its 'heat-processed bone meal was untainted when it was shipped,' the WSJ says.

"The FDA found salmonella in the bone meal, among numerous other places, at Wright's facilities - and the agency's inspectors reported problems that may explain how stored bone meal could be contaminated, including porous bins that were 'exposed to live birds and avian feces' and possibly accessible to rodents, the WSJ says...."

This is hardly surprising: Wright County Egg has - at best - a monumental public relations problem on its hands. American's are picky about manure showing up where it shouldn't be - and even more fussy about diseased eggs on the grocery shelves. Whoever's in charge at WCE would naturally want everybody to believe that they're the victims in this piece.

Things could be worse for those two egg farms, though: conditions in their barns hadn't killed the mice. (August 31, 2010)

I live in central Minnesota, and would just as soon believe that a company in this state wouldn't be shipping salmonella with its feed.

For that matter, I'd just as soon believe that a company in the next state south of us wouldn't sell tainted eggs. Bad things happen - and sometimes company bigwigs make really, really stupid decisions. Remember those poison peanuts?

The Lemming may be biased: but it does seem that mixing feed - no matter how pristine it was when it arrived - with bird poop isn't a good idea.

This investigation - and the mess that those egg farms are in, literally and figuratively - aren't likely to go away any time soon.

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