The owner of the eggs farms at the center of a nationwide recall linked to salmonella poisoning is scheduled to testify before a U.S. House committee today. Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is the vice-chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations that’ll question Jack DeCoster about the egg operations.
Braley says there are three panels, with the first including victims who were exposed to salmonella. DeCoster, Orland Bethel and other representatives of the egg companies will be on the second panel, and the third panel will include Michael Taylor, the deputy commissioner for foods at the F.D.A.
Braley says the committee wants to expand the information they’ve already received on the massive egg recall. He says one of the biggest concerns that they have is getting a “sense of accountability from the people who were responsible for this problem, and a recognition that it’s a serious issue affecting the food supply.”
Braley says it will also serve as a format to have a continued conversation on the need to move forward on the food safety bill the House sent to the Senate. The committee has recently held hearings on problems with Toyota and the Gulf oil spill. Braley hopes DeCoster is open and takes responsibility for the problem.
“Those companies that come before the committee, acknowledge their failings and offer concrete suggestions on how we can work together, including working with federal regulators to improve the inspections of these facilities, and to preserve the safe supply of food to the consumers of this country, fare far better than those that come in, deny that they were responsible for the contributing to the problem and try to place all the blame on federal regulators or some other third party,” Braley says.
Braley says while thousands of eggs were recalled and many people got sick, this could have been a much worse. Braley says it has not been as dramatic as the pictures of oil shooting up into the Gulf of Mexico, but he says if a number of people had died, which was possible, then “we’d be talking about a much different scale of problem.”
The hearing is set for 11 A.M. Iowa time today (Wednesday).