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Egg Inspectors Failed to Raise Alarms

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Surprise, surprise, another federal regulatory agency more concerned with the industry it is supposed to oversee than with the public it is allegedly supposed to protect and serve. If the USDA was a person, it could be jailed for crimes, but…

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U.S. Department of Agriculture experts found growing sanitary problems including bugs and overflowing trash earlier this year on the Iowa farm at the center of the national egg recall, but didn’t notify health authorities, according to government documents and officials.

The problems laid out in USDA daily sanitation reports viewed by The Wall Street Journal underscore the regulatory gaps that may have contributed to delays in discovering salmonella contamination. Tainted eggs sickened at least 1,470 Americans.

Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, recalled 380 million eggs in mid-August, but people likely began getting ill around May 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Robert Arnold said he reported problems at Wright County Egg when he worked there, but was ignored.

The USDA was the only federal body with a regular presence at Wright, but it says it wasn’t responsible for safety. USDA graders were at a Wright egg-packing plant seven days a week to oversee designations such as “Grade A” on egg cartons.

The Food and Drug Administration, which has overall responsibility for egg safety but didn’t inspect the Wright facility until this August, says it never heard from the USDA about problems such as dirt and mold. The two agencies have a formal understanding about the USDA giving the FDA notice over sanitary issues, but the USDA declined to give details.

The USDA said it didn’t give notice because “the conditions at the egg plant packing facilities were routine.”

(click to continue reading Egg Inspectors Failed to Raise Alarms – WSJ.com.)

Routine. Yikes. That makes me feel like eating 50 eggs!


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Written by Seth Anderson

September 10th, 2010 at 7:44 am

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