Poor hygiene on egg farm blamed for recent salmonella outbreak

Following the recent news of over 200 million eggs being recalled across the US, the FDA has now confirmed that Rose Acre Farm, where the eggs were traced to, had ongoing hygiene issues. The inspection report was released by the FDA, and noted that the conditions of the farm were unsanitary and unsuitable for producing food products, It also commented on an ongoing problem the farm had with rodents, as well as the employee’s poor knowledge of hygiene practices.

The report concluded that, between March 26th and April 11th, FDA inspectors observed live rodents in feed and production areas of the farm. They also reported  “condensation dripping from the ceiling, pipes, and down walls, onto production equipment”, and equipment that was “visibly dirty with accumulated grime and food debris.”

In regards to the employees, inspectors commented that those on the production line were seen touching their faces, hair and “intergluteal cleft” before touching the eggs and were failing to wash their hands or change their gloves. In addition to this, one employee was seen using a wool scrubber that had been stored “on a cart in a dustpan that had a pool of water and egg mix with floating food debris and grime” to clean the egg buffers.

The outbreaks of salmonella were initially reported last month across nine US states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. After laboratory testing and other evidence, the outbreak was traced to Rose Acre Farm, who are one of the largest egg producers in the country. Some of their brands include Country Daybreak, Coburn Farms, Crystal Farms, Sunshine Farms and Glenview.

According to the CDC, the contaminated eggs have now caused at least 23 illnesses and 6 hospitalizations. Consumers are being urged to check if any products they’ve purchased are affected, and if they are, not to eat them and dispose of them as soon as possible.

A Spokesperson for Rose Acre Farms, Gene Grabowski, said that they are still preparing a formal response to the new report. However, he commented:  “Until then, we would urge everyone to wait until all the facts are presented before rushing to judgment. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

“It’s unfair to be judged on the farm’s operation without proper perspective or a chance to formally respond to an incomplete representation of a massive facility that houses more than 3 million hens. The FDA’s form 483 inspection report on our Hyde County, North Carolina farm is based on raw observations and in some cases lack proper context. Rose Acre does everything possible to safeguard our flocks and to ensure that we are providing a safe, affordable and abundant supply of eggs to U.S. consumers.”

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