Last night the Food and Drug Administration released the gruesome details of its investigation into the Iowa-based Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms egg laying facilities responsible for the recall of more than 550,000,000 eggs and 1,500 illnesses in 23 states. Already the largest egg recall in the nation's history, the findings of this report are sure to become legendary in the offenses of industrial animal confinements here in the U.S.
The new FDA report confirms what, FDA commission Margaret Hamburg has already told national media outlets that the Jack DeCoster owned Wright County Egg and DeCoster-affiliated Hillandale Farms were operating in an unsafe manner. Until last night, how unsafe remained in question, and the details of this new report are not for the faint of heart.
According to USA Today's Elizabeth Weise's article, titled, "Filth, rats found at Iowa egg producers at center of recall" the DeCoster's Wright County Egg facility was described by FDA investigators "as filthy, rat and fly-infested and so overflowing with manure that in several cases doors could not be closed". While Hillandale Farms, "had multiple unsealed rodent holes into its henhouses, liquid manure leaking from a manure pit and as many as 50 escaped hens tracking manure into the henhouse."
Over at The Iowa Independent, Linda Waddington reports that multiple violations at both industrial chicken confinements, included "rodent, bug and wild bird infestation, uncontained manure, holes in wall" which are suspected as possibiy being responsible for the outbreat. In addition, Wadding reports that FDA investigators found "several positive samples of salmonell" at both facilities and the feed mill owned by "habitual volation" Jack DeCoster, which supplied feed to both Wright Country Egg and Hillandale Farms.
The Iowa Independent included a shocking list of violations found in the new FDA report, which are listed below.
At sites identified as being owned by Quality Egg LLC, which is run by DeCoster, the FDA found:
* Wild birds and their feathers in the laying houses.
* Chicken manure piled up to 8-feet high * Outside manure pit doors being pushed open by the weight of the manure
* Unbaited and unsealed holes that appeared to be rodent burrows
* Dark liquid that appeared to be manure seeping through a concrete foundation
* Uncaged chickens climbing on the piles of manures to have contact with caged chickens
* Live mice within the laying houses
* Live and dead flies “too numerous to count”
* Live and dead maggots “too numerous to count”
At Hillandale Farms sites the FDA inspectors found:
* Unsealed rodent holes
* Liquid manure leaking onto a separate floor of a laying house, and “streaming” out of a six-inch gap of a manure pit doorway
* Uncaged hens tracking manure to caged hens
* Numerous incomplete internal monitoring forms
Even as alarming as these violations sound, one wonders what the conditions are at the rest of the less than 200 egg laying companies that supply Americans more than 95% of the eggs we consume daily.
Already, top FDA officials are asking themselves the same question. According to USA Today, "The conditions at the two farms led the Food and Drug Administration to announce today that it plans to immediately launch inspections of all egg-laying operations in with more than 50,000 laying hens, which account for more than 80% of eggs produced in the USA, says Mike Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for food."
Clearly, the lapdog that has not been guarding the hen house may find this as an opportunity to awake from its long slumber.