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Former Egg Farm Employees Say Their Complaints Were Ignored: Report
Date:9/3/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Two former workers at one of the two Iowa egg farms implicated in the massive recall of salmonella-contaminated eggs said federal inspectors who worked at the two farms ignored complaints about conditions at one of the sites, the Associated Press reported Friday.

The two workers, employed at Wright County Egg facilities, said they reported problems such as leaking manure and dead chickens to U.S. Department of Agriculture employees, but nothing was done, the news service reported.

A spokesman for the Agriculture Department, Caleb Weaver, said the federal employees' main duties were "grading" the eggs and they weren't primarily responsible for looking for health problems. Weaver also said the USDA employee who oversaw grading at the facility did not recall anyone raising concerns, the AP said.

On Monday, U.S. health investigators detailed a slew of violations that included the presence of manure pits, rodents and dead flies at the two Iowa farms implicated in the recent egg recall due to salmonella infection.

"These are significant deviations from what should be happening," Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said during an afternoon news conference at which the agency released the results of what is known as a "483" inspection report.

The "observations" are a clear violation of the new egg rule put into place in July, added David Elder, director of the FDA's Office of Regional Operations.

Both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms "failed to fully implement and follow procedures in its salmonella and derivatives prevention plan," Elder said.

At Wright County Egg, infractions included manure piles seeping into hen houses.

"In some cases, the manure piles were four-to-eight feet high," Elder said.

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