Congress food watchdog sets egg-recall hearing

Aug 27, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday announced that it will hold a hearing on Sep 14 to address the safety of the nation's food supply in the wake of a recent Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak linked to two Iowa farms.

The outbreak has led to the recall of about 550 million eggs, and federal health officials have received reports of 1,470 illnesses so far that they believe are likely related to the contaminated eggs.

In other developments, an announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday that its investigators have found the outbreak strain in chicken feed, feed components (bone meal), and environmental samples at Wright County Egg has prompted a report from the company. Wright County Egg said that it got the bone meal product from a third-party supplier, Central Bi-Products, based in Minnesota, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday.

According to the Central Bi-Products Web site, the company has rendering facilities in Redwood Falls and Long Prairie, Minn., that process raw materials from different species, including poultry material, feathers, and blood. It says each process has its own protein-blending plant, providing product segregation.

Meanwhile, Iowa officials are reviewing if the feed mill located on one of the Wright County Egg farms should have been licensed and inspected, the AP reported today. The mill reportedly has a licensing exemption because it makes feed for its own farms, but the FDA said yesterday that Wright County Egg provided potentially contaminated feed to Hillandale Farms, the other Iowa company linked to the national outbreak and egg recall.

An official with the Iowa Department of Agriculture said the state would investigate if Wright County Egg owns part of Hillandale Farms. The farms have said they are separate but share some suppliers.

See also:

Aug 26 House Committee on Energy and Commerce statement

Central Bi-Products Web site

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