6 Nasty Things The FDA Found At Facility Behind Recalled Eggs

The FDA has released the warning letter it recently sent to Quality Egg, one of the facilities behind the massive egg recall in August. And while some things are redacted — mostly details from Quality’s plan to get back up to snuff — the letter contains more than its fair share of stomach-churning imagery.

Among the things that had us saying no to omelets this morning:

• The outside access doors to the manure pits had been pushed out by the weight of manure, leaving open access to wildlife and other animals.

• Non-chicken feathers were observed inside Layer 3, House 3. One live wild bird was observed flying above chicken cages inside Layer 1, House 9. Wild birds were observed flying inside and outside of Layer 1, Houses 11 and 12. Pigeons were observed roosting in an air vent where the screen was damaged on the south side of Layer 1, House 14.

• [Y]ou failed to properly bait and seal rodent burrows located along the second floor baseboards.

• Dark liquid which appeared to be manure was observed seeping through the concrete foundation to the outside of the laying houses.

• Live and dead flies too numerous to count were observed inside the following egg laying houses: Layer 1, Houses 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12; Layer 2, Houses 7 and 11; Layer 3, Houses 3, 4,5,6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 17, and 18. The flies were observed on and around egg belts, feed, shell eggs and walkways in different sections of each egg laying house. In addition, live and dead maggots too numerous to count were observed on the manure pit floor at Layer 2, House 7.

• The entrance door to Layer 3, House 11 was blocked with excessive amounts of manure in the manure pits.

In the letter, the FDA warns Quality Egg, “Failure to take prompt corrective action may result in regulatory action being initiated by the Food and Drug Administration without further notice. These actions include, but are not limited to, seizure and/or injunction.”

Quality Egg LLC 10/15/10 [FDA.gov]

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  1. deathbecomesme says:

    So who’s sending the same letter to the FDA? They need to be disciplined as well

  2. jrinaudo07 says:

    Omelette*

    • Chris Morran says:

      Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

      Omelet Om”e*let, n. [F. omelette, OF. amelette, alumete,
      alumelle, perh. fr. L. lamella. Cf. Lamella.]
      Eggs beaten up with a little flour, etc., and cooked in a
      frying pan; as, a plain omelet.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        1913, there’s your problem right there.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Omelet is a perfectly acceptable spelling, I agree Chris. The age of the dictionary doesn’t matter, as that spelling is listed in numerous places in a simple google search, including Merriam Webster, Wikipedia, and a number of other locations. Omelet tends to be the US spelling, which coincidentally is where Chris is!

        Spelling Nazi Fail.

    • RxDude says:

      Umlaut¨

      • Saites says:

        Actually, an umlaut is a way of pronouncing a sound (of a vowel). The two dots are called a diacritic (specifically, the umlaut diacritic).

  3. megan9039 says:

    Where is a farmer’s market when you need one??!!!!

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      They’d love to set one up, but can’t get to their trucks on account of all the manure in the way.

    • Mom says:

      No kidding. I get my eggs from a guy named Phil, who raises the chickens himself, on a farm that I’m allowed to visit anytime I want. And yes, I do pay more. But it seems worth it to me.

      • jbandsma says:

        One of the drivers my husband dispatches for raises chickens and gets way too many eggs for his own use. We benefit from the overage. And he refuses payment for them.

    • HighontheHill says:

      Chickens are extremely easy and fun to keep with the bonus being a surplus of the best eggs you could ever hope for… We have 35 chickens in a nice coop out back, that we have five roosters certainly raises the noise factor a bit but we actually enjoy their crowing, they free range about the place eating all sorts of insects, worms, and such; all of which add to the quality of the eggs.

      We collect at least a dozen fresh eggs a day, selling or bartering the surplus to friends and neighbors.

  4. slim150 says:

    curious, how do those impact the inside of the egg?

    • Kat@Work says:

      Because eggs come from inside the chickens, and if the chickens are living in what sounds like a House of Manure, they’re going to be sick and more likely to pass along parasites/bacteria in their eggs.

      /not a biologist

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The disease that caused them to be recalled is found on the outside of the shell. While technically the edible portion of the egg might not have been diseased, contact with the outside of the egg did. Since it’s tough to clean an egg (good like scrubbing them down hard) it’s still a problem.

      • leprofie says:

        Sorry, not true. The disease was inside the egg. If the chicken has an infected ovary, then the salmonella can be found inside the egg.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Also not true. The previous articles discussed disease on the outside of the shell.

          • Firethorn says:

            Samonella is normally found on the outside of the eggs, but it is indeed true that it can find it’s way INTO the egg if the hen is infected. Which it is far more likely to be if she hasn’t been vaccinated.

            It is also quite possible to wash/sterilize the outside of the egg, but it sounds like this egg farm wasn’t keeping up on things, they just kept chopping safety measures until something snapped.

            Vaccinated hen in dirty house? Probably okay. Dirty factory but the eggs are upon entering a clean zone? Probably okay. Keep the houses properly sealed and cleaned but don’t vaccinate or wash? Probably okay.

            Have vaccinated hens in a clean, properly sealed house, and wash the eggs? You’re virtually certain to have non-infected eggs; enjoy your Rocky shake.

    • 3skr1mad0r says:

      The shell of an egg is semi-permeable. Some things can get through so being subject to that much filth, it was bound to happen.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Think of dying eggs for Easter. If you color the shell green, then crack it open, ta da! The inside is green, too. The shells are (slightly) porous. Shit on the outside can get inside, though I can’t say for sure how easy/difficult it is.

    • Pax says:

      Eggshells are porous. They HAVE to be – because in a fertilised egg, the foetus has to have access to oxygen.

      Put a live bird’s egg in water, completely submersed … and even if the temperature remains perfect, the baby bird inside will die … it will SUFFOCATE.

  5. rondalescott says:

    “seizure and/or injunction”

    They can do that? I didn’t know that, I thought they were mostly toothless…

    • RxDude says:

      If the FDA doesn’t like you, they WILL take your stuff and possibly put you in jail, or get another federal agency to do so. Unless, of course, you have deep enough pockets.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      and the “not limited to” means they can legally buckwheat your ass.

    • DriverB says:

      I think the worse part is “Failure to take prompt corrective action may result in…”

      Only *MAY* result in. Or, they *MAY* just forget about the whole dang thing. Ugh!

    • Galium says:

      Yes they can, it was last done on Sep 32nd 2006, for a meat packer in Boston Alaska. The company was trying to put real meat into generic hot dogs.

  6. Nick says:

    Hence the name Quality Egg, as the rest are rotten.

  7. smo0 says:

    I love egg pix. They are so cute!

    Love peeps too!

    This story, however, is gut wretching.

  8. FeelinFroggy says:

    Absolutely unacceptable on every level….especially with the FDA!
    A warning letter? How about the inspector closes the place down immediately?
    What good is a warning for corrective action when it’s clear the violations are excessive and have been that way for quite some time?!?!?!

    A warning is in order if I find some minor violations that can be attributed to a minor lapse in procedurecompliance…..but this is the type of shit probably just made Michael Moore and the Food Inc people have an orgasm.

    • Holybalheadedchrist! says:

      Um, there’s an acceptable amount of poop in lots of foods. Farms get a big pass because otherwise it would be totally cost prohibitive. You can’t just whip that shit up in a lab.

      • FeelinFroggy says:

        Uhm…agreed but that is not what was found here….
        We’re talking about some heavy shit…(sorry I couldn’t resist)

        “The outside access doors to the manure pits had been pushed out by the weight of manure”

      • Firethorn says:

        They might get a pass, but not on ‘overflowing manure containers’.

        Animals shit. That’s a given. But with proper management it’s still possible to keep a (mostly) clean facility.

        That the holding areas were so overfull that they were busting the access doors open indicates people weren’t doing their jobs.

    • 3skr1mad0r says:

      Totally agree. Hit them in the wallet to begin with and they will get their act straight in order to open up again.
      With the way the letter was written it seems the farm can just stay as nasty until whatever deadline date where they will clean up at the last minute.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      My family used to have a quarter-million laying hens. So thinking about it, how would you propose they “shut them down”? Do you speak chicken-speak and tell the hens to stop laying? Do you stop feeding and watering them? It’s not like a factory where you can just pull a lever. These guys need to go clean that shit up. I propose they get all the executives together for a meeting, hand them shovels and make them clean up the mounds of moldy, ammonia packed chickenshit. When they are ready for a lunch break, feed them scrambled eggs, then back to work, until it’s done.

      • Willnet says:

        Was that in a movie..?

      • FeelinFroggy says:

        Wow how do you stop a chicken from laying an egg? LOL you make it sound like they are the problem… You force the company to discard all the eggs made in those conditions for possible contamination and do not allow them to distribute any new eggs until they are back up to spec.
        Pretty fucking simple don’t you think? Wait don’t answer that, you may ask what they are going to do with all those eggs.

      • Mr. Pottersquash says:

        ummm, you tell them not to ship any damn eggs or get thrown in jail.

        Not the FDAs prob what you do with a million egges.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          That’s not a problem. Most eggs spend months in refrigeration prior to being shipped out anyway.

  9. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    industrial farms are bad things happening. If anyone here (not farmers) were to spend one day on a real, industrial farm, you’d never want to eat that crap again. It’s less like Charlotte’s Web and more like 12 Monkeys.

    • Mom says:

      You don’t even have to spend the day at an industrial farm. You just have to smell an industrial farm from a few miles away, and you’ll never eat anything from one again.

  10. dreamfish says:

    When I first read that headline I thought it said:

    “6 Nasty Things The FDA Found At Facility Behind Recycled Eggs”

  11. momtimestwo says:

    Poor birds having to live in those conditions:(

  12. Bagumpity says:

    Did they send the Count from Sesame Street to do the inspection? Seriously, who counts live and dead flies and maggots? Aren’t flies and maggots too numerous to count by definition?

    • magus_melchior says:

      Uh, no– if they sent the Count, you’d hear something like:

      “1592… 1593… *puke* Dis is not funny, ah, ah, ah… 1594…”

      The letter does read “too numerous to count”, which means that the places indicated had spots that were covered in flies and maggots– they didn’t bother to count.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      I’m sure if they didn’t put that, those being cited for flies would claim it was just a couple of flies that flew in when the inspector opened the door. You can easily estimate 10 or 20, so they were trying to document that it was a serious infestation, not just a few stragglers.

  13. ceez says:

    so wait, are they still operating under this conditions or are they shut down until they correct them?

    that’s what’s wrong with corporate america, keep em running, selling the junk….money needs to be made at the expense of others.

  14. Wolfbird says:

    This sounds really terrible to say, but I’m not at all shocked. That’s not to say that I’m not okay with this but I thought this was how all big farms, even some of the smaller ones, operated.

    I worked briefly for a mom and pop dairy farm that sold its produce to a larger supplier. They mostly had dairy cows, but a few pigs and laying hens too. The dairy cows were in the barn because “the field is full of gopher holes” (I assume this means they’re break their legs) and there was so much shit around it broke the manure conveyor belt. I saw cows with shit-caked udders and there were piles of manure that came up past my knees everywhere except the walkways (think of shoveling a driveway after a snowstorm). There was fly shit plastered inside and out of the glass milk pipes (“bah, pasturization will get the germs!”) and there was at least 1 dead calf (another looked dead, but it could have been sleeping I guess), a few more live ones were tied to a wall with no aparent access to food or water.

    The chickens were free range, but that just means they were in a converted garden shed that looks like it hadn’t ever been cleaned. Like, literally. There is no reason why a farmer should leave the shit stalagmites from the last chickens in for the new batch, but I guess this one wanted to cut labor costs.

    I hate naggy vegetarians just like anyone else, but I’m starting to think they have a point. Not everywhere can be this bad, but now I know there are at least 2.

  15. kataisa says:

    Time to look up local farmers and see if I buy chicken eggs directly from them.

    • magus_melchior says:

      Here’s a list of facilities that sell “organic” eggs:

      http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/

      They also post their methodology of scoring, so you know what they mean by “organic”.

      A brand sold by Whole Foods got top marks (they’re quite pricey at $4 for half a dozen), while another brand got diddly. Most of the top marks went to small, local farms with sustainable practices.

  16. RayanneGraff says:

    It makes me sick to hear about how these poor animals are treated.

  17. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This is why I have my eggs delivered from a house about 2 miles up the road. The eggs are on average, never older than 2-3 days when I get them and they come in all shapes and sizes. I know the chickens are happy and well kept (visited the farm myself).

    Plus, supporting local business!

  18. WickedCrispy says:

    Too big to fail = paying protection munny

  19. jcargill says:

    Business can regulate itself. If you disagree, it’s because you’re a Stalinist who hates capitalism, freedom, America, Jesus, puppies and anything else pure and good.