Lab: Iowa egg company warned of salmonella in hens

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Records show an Iowa State University scientist found evidence sick hens at farms owned by an Iowa egg producer were “almost certainly” laying eggs contaminated with salmonella months before one of the nation’s largest outbreaks of food-borne illness. Testing records filed as part of a civil lawsuit show scientists at ISU’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory found salmonella in manure at several Iowa egg-laying plants and in the internal organs of dead birds in the months before the August 2010 recall of 550 million eggs.

The laboratory reported the results to the company requesting tests, but scientists say they had no legal or ethical obligation to alert regulators or consumers since salmonella is not a reportable disease. Lab director Rodger Main says it was up to the company to take appropriate action.