June 21, 2024

FDA Finds Rodent Infestation at Rose Acre Farms, Where Eggs Caused Salmonella Braenderup Outbreak

The FDA has released a report about inspections at Rose Acre Farms – Hyde County Egg, the facility that has had to recall more than 200 million eggs after a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak sickened 23 people in 8 states. The facility was inspected several ties from March 26 to April 11, 2018.

Rose Acre Farms Salmonella Outbreak

The report said that the “corrective actions taken by your firm have not been effective at reducing the rodent levels within your poultry houses to an acceptable level.” The threshold for “acceptable rodent activity” is established in the company’s Salmonella prevention plan.

Inspectors observed many live rodents: in the inspection on March 26, 2018, they were seen in the manure pit, running across the upper level floor, multiple live rodents running around the staging area in the pit, and burrowing in and out of manure piles. Dead rodents were on the ground. In addition, daylight was observed through an area that was sealed with spray foam, creating a potential pest entrance to the manure pits.

The next day, inspectors went back to Rose Acre Farms and saw live rodents in the pit, including baby mice. Five rodents were seen while walking rows during swab collection. And rodent burros were observed in manure piles and on the bird platform.

Inspectors also found insanitary conditions and poor employee practices that created “an environment that allows for the harborage, proliferation and spread of filth and pathogens throughout the facility.” Rose Acre Farms employees were observed bypassing cleaning and sanitation steps. Inspectors also saw condensation dripping from the ceiling, pies, and down walls onto production equipment. Equipment was observed with dried egg and shells and grime after they were sanitized.

In response to this report, Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said, “This most recent Salmonella outbreak resulting in a massive recall is another example of how the ultra-consolidated factory farm system can have major consequences for food safety. That one facility can so quickly supply so many stores with tainted food shows that we need more regulation, not less, of our food supply. And repeated violations over the years show that the company continues to act recklessly where food safety protocols are concerned.”

Hauter also questioned whether the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Staff, when visiting these large facilities every day, saw any sign of rats. She added, “we deserve to know whether our regulatory agencies are doing their job to protect us from tainted food.

It may seem as though 23 people sick in a nationwide outbreak is a small number. But remember that most people who contract Salmonella food poisoning never see their doctors, and their illnesses are not reported to authorities. Officials use a multiplier of 29 in Salmonella outbreaks. That means there could be more than 600 people sick in this specific outbreak.

Make sure that you do not have any of the recalled eggs in your home. Moreover, cook eggs thoroughly before eating, to a temperature of 160°F, and do not use any recipe that calls for uncooked eggs. Hens can harbor Salmonella bacteria in their ovaries, so no amount of washing will remove the bacteria if they are present.

And if you have eaten eggs and have been sick, see your doctor. The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, a fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody.

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