Legislators this year have been considering proposals that would shift authority over a variety of state functions from one agency to another. This morning, the Iowa House unanimously passed a bill that would put officials in the Iowa Department of Agriculture in charge of overseeing egg handling and marketing.
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals currently has that authority. Representative Brian Moore, a Republican from Zwingle, calls the ag department IDALS, which stands for Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. “Currently IDALS already has a state veterinarian and regional veterinarians who (deal) with animals on farm bio-security issues and inspectors that deal with animal farm and facility inspections,” Moore says.
“Hence, it makes sense to have IDALS be the state agency that will work with the federal Food and Drug Administration on inspecting eggs.” The switch, which would happen in 2012 if the bill becomes law, would give the Iowa Department of Agriculture jurisdiction over so-called “egg handlers” who buy and sell eggs, as well as the producers who raise the hens that lay the eggs.
Last summer, two north central Iowa facilities were identified as the source of salmonella-contaminated eggs, prompting a massive nationwide egg recall.