Thursday, September 23, 2010

House Hearing on Salmonella Outbreak in Eggs

It’s difficult to believe that Jack DeCoster, one of the country’s largest egg producers, gives a crap about how toxic his eggs are.

The 500 million eggs recalled last month because of a salmonella outbreak were from DeCoster’s farms. But this isn’t a new problem for him; DeCoster, eggs and salmonella have had a decades-long relationship.

DeCoster appeared yesterday at the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations' hearing on "The Outbreak of Salmonella in Eggs and offered his testimony, including:
"We were horrified to learn that our eggs may have made people sick. We apologize to everyone who may have been sickened by eating our eggs. I pray several times each day for all of them and for their improved health."
Instead of praying now, DeCoster may have been better served by addressing the following conditions found in his facilities, as described by Representative Bart Stupak, the subcommittee’s chairman, in his opening statement:
• Employees working within the hen laying houses did not wear or change protective clothing when moving from house to house.
• Live rodents were located in the laying houses.
• Liquid manure oozing out of buildings.
• Dead and decaying chickens.
• Live and dead flies too numerous to count.

• Positive test results for salmonella were found in both farms, including in the feed mill and in the water used to wash the eggs.
Representative Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, detailed DeCoster’s failings over the past three decades in his statement:
"The DeCoster family, which owns Wright County Egg and raised eggs for Hillandale Farms in Iowa, has known about safety problems at its facilities for decades, yet they continue to persist . . . DeCoster farms have had warning after warning. Yet they continue to raise chickens in slovenly conditions – and to make millions by selling contaminated eggs."
Also, click here to read yesterday’s New York Times article further detailing DeCoster’s record.

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