Source of Major Egg Recall Restarts Production

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Iowa’s Hillandale Farms, one of the producers involved in a nationwide egg recall this summer, has cleaned up its act as far as the FDA is concerned. The agency granted it permission on Friday to resume production at three of its nine houses in West Union, Iowa. Meanwhile, the other company whose eggs were recalled, Wright County Eggs, was warned about ongoing health violations.

Hillandale recalled 170 million eggs in August after an FDA inspection of two of its facilities turned up several health violations and found evidence of Salmonella contamination. While one of the facilities, located in Alden, Iowa, has since been closed, the company requested permission to resume production at its other facility in West Union. The FDA's letter noted negative Salmonella tests (as in, no Salmonella) at the facility and corrective measures taken by the company to bring them into compliance.

Production at the facility’s six other houses remains on hold until the FDA completes its testing of the eggs produced there.

The August inspection of Hillandale Farms came on the heels of a Salmonella outbreak traced to Wright County Eggs, also based in Iowa. That recall affected over 380 million eggs, and the company has not fared as well in inspections conducted since the recall. The same day it granted permission to Hillandale to resume production, the FDA sent a warning letter to Wright County Eggs advising the producer to “continue to refrain from shipping its eggs to customers” due to a laundry list of violations.

The letter listed several of those violations, including eggs “prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth,” pigeons and other wild birds flying above chicken cages, and chicken feed contaminated with Salmonella. The letter goes on to note the company’s failure to take corrective measures, and promises further inspections.

The two recalls, both announced in August, ultimately affected over a half-billion eggs from California to Ohio and several states in between. The recalls led to a spike in the price of eggs and renewed interest among consumers in organic and local eggs.

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