Tuesday, September 14

Follow-up on the Iowa Egg Recall

The story of the Iowa egg recall still has a lot of unanswered questions. Wright County Egg's facilities tested positive for Salmonella over 400 times in the last two years. That's a scary number. What is scarier is that a single outbreak can lead to the potential contamination of a half billion eggs. That's exactly what could have happened here. Wright County Eggs is a huge egg producer, supplying over three-quarters of the country's eggs.

Food, Inc.I didn't spend much time on it in my review of Food, Inc., but the possibility of mass contamination is one thing the movie strongly cautions its viewers about. The movie shows the process of meat packing in the country today, and point out that one single burger has the potential to contain meat from several different cows. Because the industry is in such few hands, as is the egg industry, one contaminated cow could mix with and spread to meat all over the country. This has the potential to lead to outbreak on a wide-spread geographical scale. To anyone interested in how chickens are farmed in this country, I highly recommend watching this movie. It spends quite a bit of time interviewing chicken farmers and includes footage of a chicken facility. It also talks about the horrible financial straights of modern-day chicken farmers.

So how do you solve this? Going to your local producer, as appealing and obvious as that may seem, isn't really a possibility. The supply simply isn't there. It is also costly. Cage-free eggs cost more than mass produced eggs. The solution has to be regulatory in nature. The articles on this issue make it seem as though appropriate legislation is in place, but no one seems to know if Wright Country Farms followed through on all of their testing requirements. When you're talking about the producer of three-quarters of the nations eggs, this is simply just unacceptable. Nobody knows if at anytime in the last two years, they tested eggs produces in contaminated facilities for Salmonella? Why is nobody enforcing these requirements? Why do 1,500 people have to get sick before we realize how vulnerable our egg supply is to contamination?

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