Costco Egg InvestigationAn undercover investigation recently conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has discovered “inhumane treatment of animals and food safety concerns” at a Hillandale Farms facility in Gettysburg, PA. The company supplies some Costco stores under the brand name “Nearby Eggs” and was partly responsible for the 2010 outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis associated with shell eggs. HSUS described birds at the Gettysburg facility forced to share their cages with dead, decaying and even mummified corpses; hens packed so tightly into cages that they can’t fully extend their wings, and piles of broken, rotting eggs and dead birds on the floor. These conditions are not healthy for the birds and can cause disease to spread quickly, said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. Several studies have suggested that hens confined in cages had higher rates of Salmonella than cage-free operations. “This is a clear case where the abuse of animals goes hand-in-hand with increasing risk that we’re posing to ourselves, too,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for HSUS. He added that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found conditions similar to those in Gettysburg at the Hillandale Iowa facility and the farm run by the DeCoster family, which recalled 550 million shell eggs in 2010. HSUS criticized Costco for not following through with its pledge to sell only eggs from cage-free hens. “The time is now for Costco to make good on its proclamation from 2007 and set a timetable for going 100 percent cage-free,” Shapiro said. In addition, the “Nearby Eggs” cartons are misleading, HSUS said. They depict hens out in a pasture in front of a red barn. “In reality, the birds laying the eggs … never feel the sun on their backs, they never stepped foot on a blade of grass, they don’t even spread their wings,” Shapiro said. Costco Egg Investigation