Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration issued a report based on inspections of Rose Acre Farms from March 26-April 11, and a review of facility records from September 2017. On Friday, Rose Acre Farms announced a recall of 206 million shell eggs after federal investigators found that illnesses in multiple states were linked to a strain of Salmonella that was found at the company’s facility in North Carolina. The FDA report shows an “ongoing rodent infestation” at the facility and “insanitary conditions and poor employee practices” that allow for the spread of pathogens. The FDA had also previously found “alarmingly high rodent populations” and salmonella contamination at another facility owned by the company in 2011.
In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:
“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.
“After the last massive egg recall in 2010, multiple federal agencies signed memoranda of understanding promising cooperation to report food safety, occupational safety, and environmental hazards found by their respective staff.
“USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service staff is usually at the large facilities every day to do grading duties. Did the AMS graders see any signs of rats? Had OSHA done a recent inspection of that facility, and if so, did those inspectors see anything unusual and report it to the FDA?
“It is not clear whether this agreed upon cooperation was occurring in this instance, and we deserve to know whether our regulatory agencies are doing their job to protect us from tainted food.
“The company's repeated violations over the years show that the continuing consolidation of our food system raises the food safety stakes for all of us. The FDA needs to actually use the agreements with other agencies to identify problems before they make people sick and increase the frequency of their inspections.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]