FDA uses massive egg recall to push for egg pasteurization

Amid the massive egg recall currently underway over potential salmonella poisoning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working hard to push its pasteurization agenda. The agency recently made an announcement recommending that all grocery stores and restaurants begin stocking pasteurized eggs instead of raw ones.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of salmonella cases being reported has been steadily increasing throughout the summer. Rather than the average 50 illnesses reported each week, June and July saw numbers as high as 200 per week, prompting a response from the FDA.

However, in typical FDA fashion, the agency has decided to ignore the actual cause of illness and contamination — filthy, industrialized food production systems — and instead call for all eggs to be cooked before being sold to consumers.

Other recent outbreak scares include both spinach and tomato recalls, after which the FDA made similar recommendations urging produce irradiation as the solution. But this philosophy fails to address the real problem with the current food system.
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It sounds like this situation will be used to justify irradiation of eggs.

My first concern is that the nutritional value of eggs will be lowered by irradiating them and also that this will remove some of the pressure for the farmers to clean up the disgusting conditions that contribute to the problem in  the first place.

An over view of the argument;

The Basics on the Foodfight Over Irradiation

Why is salmonella in eggs a problem?  If you have a weak stomach, stop here.

The Iowa egg supplier is now the center of attention in the midst of a massive egg recall from salmonella. Austin “Jack” DeCoster runs eggs plants and large animal confinement operations in Iowa, Maine and Ohio. DeCoster also has a long history of violations.

Over the past twenty years DeCoster has received multiple citations and has paid huge fines for health, safety and employment violations, all of which are public record.

. . .“Jack” DeCoster has paid fines for animal cruelty in addition to millions of dollars related to health violations at his farms. According to the CDC, the DeCoster farm has provided salmonella-tainted eggs to 15 of 25 restaurants where customers have fallen ill.

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from the Washington Post;

Before salmonella outbreak, egg firm had long record of violations

The Iowa egg producer that federal officials say is at the center of a salmonella outbreak and recalls of more than a half-billion eggs has repeatedly paid fines and settled complaints over health and safety violations and allegations ranging from maintaining a “sexually hostile work environment” to abusing the hens that lay the eggs.

A sampling of the problems DeCoster has been cited for;

In 1996, DeCoster was fined $3.6 million for health and safety violations at the family’s Turner egg farm, which then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich termed “as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop we have seen.” Regulators found that workers had been forced to handle manure and dead chickens with their bare hands and to live in filthy trailers.

— In 1999, the company paid $5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit involving unpaid overtime for 3,000 workers.

— In 2001, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that DeCoster was a “repeat violator” of state environmental laws, citing violations involving the family’s hog-farming operations. The family was forbidden to expand its hog-farming interests in the state.

— Also in 2001, DeCoster Farms of Iowa settled, for $1.5 million, a complaint brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the company had subjected 11 undocumented female workers from Mexico to a “sexually hostile work environment,” including sexual assault and rape by supervisors.

— In 2002, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the family’s Maine Contract Farming branch $345,810 for an array of violations. The same year, DeCoster Egg Farms of Maine paid $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 1998 by Mexican workers alleging discrimination in housing and working conditions.

— In 2003, Jack DeCoster paid the federal government $2.1 million as part of a plea agreement after federal agents found more than 100 undocumented workers at his Iowa egg farms. It was the largest penalty ever against an Iowa employer. Three years later, agents found 30 workers suspected of being illegal immigrants at a DeCoster farm in Iowa. And in 2007, raids at other DeCoster Iowa farms uncovered 51 more suspected undocumented workers.

— In 2006, Ohio’s Agriculture Department revoked the permits of Ohio Fresh Eggs because its new co-owners, including Hillandale founder Orland Bethel, had failed to disclose that DeCoster had put up $126 million for the purchase, far more than their $10,000, and was heavily involved in managing the company. By playing down DeCoster’s role, the owners had avoided a background check into DeCoster’s “habitual violator” status in Iowa. An appeals panel overturned the revocation, saying the disclosure was adequate.

— In 2008, OSHA cited DeCoster’s Maine Contract Farming for violations that included forcing workers to retrieve eggs the previous winter from inside a building that had collapsed under ice and snow.

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Irradiation symbol

According to Organic Consumers, irradiation is not very healthy and the Food Safety Center provides this Fact Sheet.

One response to “FDA uses massive egg recall to push for egg pasteurization

  1. That guy is a slime bag that needs to be put out business. Also hate that nanny state, we know better than you, attitude. The only thing I have ever done to eggs from chickens I’ve raised is wash them off with dish soap. Nobody has ever gotten sick.

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