The national recall involving Iowa-produced eggs was a key topic during this weekend’s debate in Spencer between Iowa’s Republican Ag Secretary and his Democratic challenger.
Democrat Francis Thicke of Fairfield proposes new regulations in Iowa that would mirror those in Maine, where monthly inspections are required for facilities with laying hens. Republican Ag Secretary Bill Northey warned about jumping to conclusions about the egg recall before all the facts are in.
“I think we want one set of rules across the country. We get Michigan eggs and Minnesota eggs in Iowa and we want to know they’re just as safe as the Iowa eggs,” Northey says. “So I think it makes sense to have a food safety organization on a federal level that really determines that safety of those products.”
Thicke has been calling on Northey to send state officials in to inspect the feed being ground at the facility owned by Jack DeCoster that is at the heart of the egg recall.
“The Iowa law clearly says that the secretary of agriculture needs to inspect feed mills that provide commercial feed and by definition that is feed mills that sell feed or that distribute it to contract growers,” Thicke says. “And apparently DeCoster is trying to do a shell game that would put him in neither category, but it’s the duty of the secretary of agriculture to actually do his job.”
Northey says his agency only has the authority to inspect commercial feed mills, not private mills that grind feed for their own animals, as is the case with DeCoster.
(Reporting by Dan Skelton, KICD, Spencer)