When Wright County Egg recalled 380 million eggs earlier this year due to salmonella contamination, the massive food safety fiasco shed new light on just how unsanitary and potentially dangerous parts of the U.S. food system really are. On Nov. 30, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would allow Wright County Egg to resume selling its shell eggs to the public.
When the FDA inspected Wright County Egg and another Iowa egg farm linked to the salmonella outbreak, Hillandale Farms, it found mountains of manure, insects, rodents and dead chickens. Both farms were ordered to clean up their operations before they would be allowed back in business. Hillandale, which was not involved in as many violations as Wright County Egg, was given the green light to resume its egg sales in October. Since August, Wright has been allowed to sell eggs to breaker facilities that pasteurize them before sale to consumers.
"During the outbreak, I said that FDA would not agree to the sale of eggs to consumers from Wright County Egg until we had confidence that they could be shipped and consumed safely," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. "After four months of intensive work by the company and oversight, testing, and inspections by FDA, I am satisfied that time has come."
Last summer’s egg recall provided greater incentive for the Senate to finally address food safety reform. The chamber passed its version of the food safety bill, the Food Safety Modernization Act, earlier this week. Although it has achieved bipartisan support, the bill is in danger of dying during the current lame-duck Congressional session.