August 15, 2020

Gravel Ridge Farms Egg Salmonella Outbreak Details in FDA Warning Letter

The Gravel Ridge Farms shell egg Salmonella outbreak sickened 45 people in 12 states last year. The FDA sent the owners of that facility a warning letter on February 12, 2019, that gives us more information about the issues at the farm. Gravel Ridge Farms recalled more than 600,000 shell eggs in response to this outbreak.

Gravel Ridge Farms Eggs Salmonella Outbreak FDA

First, the final update by the CDC stated that 44 people were sickened in that outbreak. This warning letter adds one more person. The patients were sickend with the same outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteriditis that was found in the company’s Cullman, Alabama location in egg laying houses No. 2 and No. 4. The isolates were genetically identical isolates taken from patients.

Inspections revealed that the firm was in violation of the FDA’s egg safety rule. The company failed to adequately implement the requirements in that rule, which meant the eggs were in violation of that rule and were adulterated.

When the environmental results were released to the company, they terminated the entire flock of hens held in those laying houses, and the eggs from those flocks were destroyed. The company is currently not operational. But if they do, they must work with the Alabama Department of Agriculture to make sure the owners follow the requirements of the egg safety rule.

Before the FDA inspection, the company did not have a written Salmonella Enteritidis prevention plan as required by law. A draft plan was submitted during the inspection, but the plan didn’t adequately address all the required preventive measures.

The firm could not provide documentation to show that the company tested the pullet environment for Salmonella Enteritidis. They did not have written measures to limit visitors on the farm and in poultry houses. The company also did not have a plan to prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats, and other animals from entering the poultry houses.

There were also issues when the equipment was moved among the houses. Baskets of eggs were set on the bare concrete floor after harvesting. The baskets were not sanitized before more eggs were gathered.

No monitoring for the presence of rodents was observed. There was no visible means to monitor flies in the poultry houses No. 2 and No. 4. There was overgrowth of vegetation outside the poultry houses, which could serve as a place for rodents.

The Gravel Ridge Farms shell eggs Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak was declared over on July 26, 2018.

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