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

, also had easy access to poultry houses, and investigators observed "dead flies too numerous to count" and dead flies which were "crushed underfoot" when employees traversed the poultry houses, Elder said.

Dead maggots were even observed in the manure at one farm.

Also, "employees failed to change protective clothing when moving from one house to another," Elder said, and they weren't sanitizing equipment.

Similar violations were logged at Hillandale, with rodents having convenient entryways into the poultry houses. Standing water was found near manure piles and "uncaged hens were tracking manure from the manure pit into the caged areas," Elder said.

"There was a failure to manage waste from animals that created a risk for contamination," Taylor concluded.

At the same news conference, Dr. Jeff Farrar, associate commissioner for food protection at the FDA's Office of Foods, said that new test results revealed "salmonella with an indistinguishable DNA fingerprint in a water sample collected at one of the plants at Hillandale."

"This water sample is from what's called spent egg wash water -- that is, water that is used to wash the exterior of the eggs as the eggs are coming down a conveyor line from the laying house into the packing facility," he explained.

Last week, investigators said they'd found positive samples of salmonella bacteria in feed given to chickens at the two farms implicated in the ongoing egg recall, suggesting that feed or feed ingredients might be the source of the salmonella outbreak.

Still, Farrar stressed last week and at Monday's news conference, "it's important not to draw conclusions about the source of contamination on these farms."

Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms issued the egg recall last month after receiving reports that salmonella had sickened nearly 2,000 people.

At least 550 million eggs have been recalled so far, according to federal officials. Experts stress t
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