Senator Chuck Grassley says if new federal rules aren’t adequate, he’d be willing to impose new regulations on the nation’s egg industry to guard against future salmonella outbreaks. A massive egg recall is underway after hundreds of people were sickened by eggs shipped from two Iowa companies.
“From my understanding, there are new regulations out that went into effect about the same time the eggs were being disseminated around the country, and that these new regulation by the FDA on eggs would keep this from happening,” Grassley says. A congressional hearing is scheduled to review federal guidelines for the egg industry and Grassley says that hearing may provide more information for policymakers.
About half a billion eggs have been recalled. The eggs came from two Iowa producers: Wright County Egg of Galt and Hillandale Farms of New Hampton. Grassley says he has no concerns about the quality and safety of the U.S. food supply, but this egg recall highlights his concern that small farmers have been “squeezed out” of agriculture.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s too much concentration in agriculture generally — too few packers, government regulations squeezing out the small processor, government programs encouraging the large farmers to get larger,” Grassley says. “But to a great extent, government regulation on environmental issues is probably one of the main reasons for too much concentration.”
F.D.A. officials say before the two Iowa producers are allowed to ship eggs again, they are to submit “detailed” operating plans, outlining steps they’ve taken to prevent salmonella contamination in the future.