On the heels of a 500 million egg recall in August and the implementation of a new federal rule aimed at preventing Salmonella in shell eggs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its first comprehensive report on egg inspections Tuesday.
The agency inspected 35 shell egg farms in six states–Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania, Washington, South Carolina, and Utah–all of which had either been associated with an outbreak or were flagged because of a poor compliance history.
FDA found that 12 farms needed to make changes, 11 were given a final inspection classification as “No Action Indicated,” and 12 farms are still waiting on their status.
Of 1,796 environmental swabs collected, 76–four percent–were positive for Salmonella Entertidis.
FDA indicated that all of the positive environmental swabs were collected from the farms of one egg producer, but the agency did not disclose the names of any of the farms inspected.
Most of the violations FDA observed were related to failed record keeping–or not providing data to back up the implementation of food safety or biosecurity plans. Farms were also observed failing to adequately control for rodents or keep stray animals out of poultry houses.
The report was the first issued by the FDA in its year-long initiative to inspect every major egg farm in the U.S. There are about 600 farms with over 50,000 laying hens that are currently subject to the new egg safety rule.
“The remaining farms will receive a targeted inspection focused on compliance with the major provisions of the Rule,” according to FDA. “An evidentiary threshold based on initial inspectional observations is being established for these sites, which will trigger comprehensive inspections that will include environmental sampling, if indicated. FDA and its state partners will be in communication throughout the course of this assignment to share the results of inspections.”