The congressional panel investigating the recent recall of 550 million
eggs tied to a multistate Salmonella outbreak has again pushed back its food safety
hearing. The hearing is now scheduled for tomorrow at noon EST.
DeCoster, owner of Wright County Egg, the company at the center of the
outbreak, now linked to over 1,500 illnesses in almost two dozen states,
will testify at the hearing. A company spokeswoman told the Des Moines Register last week
that DeCoster will fully cooperate with lawmakers, shutting down
speculation that he might plead the Fifth, as Stewart Parnell, owner of
the Peanut Corporation of America, did at a similar hearing in early
Parnell refused to answer any questions before the same
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee after his operation was
implicated in a nationwide recall of thousands of
Salmonella-contaminated peanut products tied to an outbreak that
sickened hundreds and killed 9.
DeCoster likely faces a tough
round of questioning from the panel. In the days following the high
profile recall, dozens of media outlets have reported DeCoster’s long
history of violating health, safety, animal cruelty, and environmental
In its initial inspection of DeCoster’s Iowa egg
operation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also found many of
DeCoster’s hen houses to be filthy and in violation of recently-enacted egg regulations.
egg recall hearing, now scheduled for Wednesday Sept. 22 at noon EST,
will also include testimony from Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for
foods at FDA, and Orlando Bethel, president of Hillandale Farms of
Iowa, which recalled 170 million of the 550 million total eggs recalled
The FDA believes the Salmonella contamination at the
two farms is linked, but the agency has not made a determination on the
exact link. Shared feed and pallets are among the likely possibilities.
The agency reported finding rodents and other biosecurity problems, as
well as Salmonella bacteria at both operations.