Your Health

Manure Piles, Rodents And Swarming Flies Found At Egg Farms

Buildings at Wright County Egg

Food safety experts traced the salmonella outbreak to Wright County Egg, near Galt, Iowa, which is one of two companies whose eggs are believed to have been contaminated. More than 500 million eggs have been recalled. Nirmalendu Majumdar/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Nirmalendu Majumdar/AP

If you've never read reports written by Food and Drug Administration inspectors after they swoop down on a factory, warehouse or farm, then you might want to start with the two from the egg producers at the center of the massive egg recalls due to salmonella risks.

Then again, skip them — and this post — if you've got a sensitive stomach.

Agency inspectors poring over six Wright County Egg locations in Iowa this month reported finding:

  • Wild birds flying inside some houses for egg-laying chickens; pigeons were living in the air vent of another.
  • Manure piled so high (4 to 8 feet) that it forced open doors to manure pits under the hens, allowing "open access to wildlife or domesticated animals."
  • Live mice in many of the egg-laying houses.
  • Flies, both "live and dead" that were "too numerous to count," as well as "live and dead maggots" beyond counting.
  • More than a half-dozen samples taken from manure, walkways, feed and equipment that tested positive for salmonella.

Over at Hillandale Farms, inspectors at three company locations report finding a whole bunch of unsealed rodent holes, gaps in doors that are supposed to keep vermin out, signs of a flooded manure pit and salmonella in a water that had been used to wash eggs.

Now, of course, these observations represent the government's word on what's going on at the farms. The companies will have a chance to respond and also, in those cases where they agree with the FDA's findings, explain what action they'll take to fix things.

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