The Culver administration is recommending changes to ensure last summer’s massive recall of eggs contaminated with salmonella doesn’t happen again. The governor’s chief of staff, Jim Larew, has filed a report with legislative leaders and Governor-elect Branstad’s transition team. He says much stronger federal regulations are now in place, but there are still gaps.

“Even with a renewed federal presence that has the support of industry, the academic and scientific community and consumers…even with that going forward, there are still areas where Iowa law can be improved,” Larew said. The recommendations include a new mandatory state program for salmonella detection and prevention, plus new certification standards and reporting requirements for labs which test for the pathogen. Larew says a state program would supplement the new federal standards.

“So that we remain the gold star,” Larew said. “So that we don’t have, on Iowa’s watch, any recalls again and these suggested improvements are ones we hope would achieve that.” The report states the Iowa program would cover all egg operations in the state, while federal standards cover only the larger farms. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen has forwarded the recommendations to the House Agriculture Committee.

Representative Annette Sweeney, who chairs the committee, says she’ll review the report, but adds the state should avoid an emotional reaction to last summer’s recall. Eggs produced by two Iowa operations, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, were linked to more than 1,600 salmonella illnesses around the U.S.