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Egg Salmonella False Flag For Scaring Congress Into Passing Bill For FDA Chief

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Author Topic: Egg Salmonella False Flag For Scaring Congress Into Passing Bill For FDA Chief  (Read 283 times)
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« on: August 23, 2010, 08:33:14 am »

FDA chief on salmonella: Agency needs more authority

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

Food and Drug Administration chief Margaret Hamburg said Monday her agency is limited by law to a mostly reactive stance on food safety and argued that it needs a more "preventive approach."

Giving a series of network interviews in the wake of the egg and salmonella breakout, Hamburg said the FDA is taking the issue "very, very seriously." At the same time, she said Congress should pass pending legislation that would provide her agency with greater enforcement power, including new authority over imported food.

"We need better abilities and authorities to put in place these preventive controls and hold companies accountable," Hamburg said as she discussed the approximately 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning and the recall of roughly a half-billion eggs from two Iowa egg distributors.

She also had some practical advice for consumers: Reject over-easy eggs. She said that as federal investigators continue their work with the companies involved, consumers should strictly avoid "runny egg yolks for mopping up with toast."

Hamburg appeared Monday on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's The Early Show, and NBC's Today show.

The companies at the center of a widening recall of eggs that may be contaminated with salmonella head into this week facing new lawsuits and more scrutiny over a reported history of legal and regulatory violations.

EGG SUPPLIER: Lengthy history of violations
SALMONELLA RECALL Q&A: What you need to know

The first recall, involving 380 million eggs, was from Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, owned by Austin "Jack" DeCoster. He also owns Quality Egg, which supplied chicks and feed to Hillandale Farms of New Hampton, Iowa. Hillandale announced a recall of 170 million eggs on Friday.

One of the first lawsuits from the half-billion-egg recall that began 10 days ago is in the works. Today in Iowa, food safety lawyer Bill Marler plans to file on behalf of Jacqueline Shea Holt of Newbury Park, Calif.

The 11-year-old ate sunny-side-up eggs on July 1 and scrambled eggs July 2, both made by her mom, Jennifer Holt. The eggs came from Wright County Egg.

She spent four days in the hospital, suffering from salmonellosis, caused by eggs contaminated with salmonella enteritidis, a copy of the lawsuit says.

Marler also filed suit Thursday on behalf of a Wisconsin woman who was treated at a hospital, and says his Seattle firm represents 35 people who were sickened.

To date, the outbreak has likely sickened 1,300, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. No deaths have been reported.

To some experts, the huge recall of potentially contaminated eggs is a testament to how the industry has grown from many small producers to large industrial farms.

The problem, many food safety experts say, is that even as eggs moved to a very intense production method with enormous companies and huge flocks, regulation was almost entirely lacking.

"It's a horrible story. It could have been prevented. Everybody knew it was a problem, and nobody was willing to take action," says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of books on food safety and nutrition.

Salmonella enteritidis, a form of the bacteria that infects the insides of eggs and so can't be washed off, was a major problem in the 1990s in egg farms in the northeastern United States, says Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Pennsylvania did a pilot study then that found that if the proper steps were taken — the same steps in a set of Food and Drug Administration rules that took effect July 9 — "you could greatly reduce the level of salmonella enteritidis in the flock and in the eggs," DeWaal says.

In 1999, President Clinton vowed to increase regulation and wipe out the disease in eggs by 2010. Instead, the industry and FDA delayed the creation of the rules, finally written in 2004.

DeWaal says he doesn't necessarily believe that large, production processors are the problem, "but you have to manage these systems tightly." Until last month, that wasn't being done, she says.

Prior to that, companies were not required to test for salmonella enteritidis. The new rule requires testing of layer houses, which can trigger mandatory egg testing. Infected eggs must be diverted to pathogen-killing treatments such as pasteurization.

Reports from The Des Moines Register and the Associated Press have highlighted DeCoster's run-ins with regulators.


•In 1997, DeCoster Egg Farms agreed to pay $2 million in fines to settle citations for health and safety violations at DeCoster's farm in Turner, Maine. The nation's Labor secretary at the time, Robert Reich, said conditions were "as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop." Reich's successor, Alexis Herman, called the state of the farms "simply atrocious," citing unguarded machinery, electrical hazards, exposure to harmful bacteria and other unsanitary conditions.

•In 2000, Iowa designated DeCoster a "habitual violator" of environmental regulations for problems that included hog manure runoff into waterways. The label made him subject to increased penalties and prohibited him from building new farms.

•In 2002, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a settlement of more than $1.5 million in an employment discrimination lawsuit against DeCoster Farms on behalf of Mexican women who reported they were subjected to sexual harassment, including ****, abuse and retaliation by some supervisory workers at DeCoster's Wright County plants in Iowa.

In a statement released Sunday, Wright County Egg said, "When issues have been raised about our farms, our management team has addressed them swiftly and effectively, working with recognized outside experts to identify and establish corrective measures for our operations. We are approaching our work with FDA in the same forthright manner."
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 09:35:22 am »

CNN says 2 more brands are being recalled, but the video is a hit piece on organic eggs by planting the question: Are organic eggs safer? If the FDA aquires more power, it will target the smaller, organic egg producers.

Check your refrigerator! Two new egg brands added to recall list

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 26, 2010 10:09 a.m. EDT

The Egg Safety Center has a complete list of recalled eggs, their expiration dates, and brands. Here are safety tips and a list of affected states.

(CNN) -- Egg eaters have two new brand names to search for in their refrigerators Thursday because of the nationwide salmonella scare sparked by egg recalls.

Wright County Egg, the company responsible for 380 million of the 550 million recalled eggs, said in a press release Wednesday night that it had confirmed cases of Salmonella enteritidis illnesses related to shell eggs bearing the Cardenas Market brand and Cardenas Market was beginning a voluntary recall.

The statement said affected eggs were distributed to Cardenas Market stores in California and Nevada, packaged in 60-egg cases over-wrapped with plastic. Although the Cardenas Market label wasn't named in Wright County's original August 13 recall announcement, Cardenas was immediately notified at the time of the original recall, and product in distribution or in stores has been quarantined, returned or destroyed, Wright County said.

Eggs included in the recall are labeled with plant number 1026 and Julian dates ranging from 136 to 228.

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