Egg Producer Allegedly Knew of Salmonella Risk Before Outbreak

Posted on June 5, 2012

New information is coming to light regarding a salmonella outbreak from a couple years ago that may have caused 62,000 people to become ill.

The initial incident took place in the summer of 2010, when people across the country reportedly began to fall ill after consuming certain eggs.  A California cooperative known as NuCal Foods brought a lawsuit against the person thought responsible for releasing the contaminated eggs onto the market.  The accused conducted business under a number of names, including Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms.  A recall was issued in August regarding some 550 million eggs, but many people had already gotten sick due to suspected salmonella contamination.

Now, officials with Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory are saying that they discovered the salmonella four whole months before the recall was initiated.  Birds at several Iowa plants were dying at inordinately high rates, and testing confirmed that salmonella was in both the birds’ internal organs and their manure.

What’s perhaps most disheartening, though, is the lab’s claim that they actually reported their findings to the egg producers.  At this point, it’s unclear what those producers did once they had the information in hand.  The lawsuit is what brought the information to the public eye, and now a jury must decide if officials with the companies in question were deliberately misleading the public.

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