May is egg month, and the leader of the Iowa Egg Council says the industry has weathered the problems caused by the salmonella outbreak last summer and is moving ahead. The outbreak was linked to two Iowa egg production facilities, but council executive director, Kevin Vinchattle, says consumers understood it was an isolated incident.
Vinchattle says there was an initial short-term reaction, but he doesn’t think there has been any long-term reaction and people “have confidence in the egg.” Vinchattle says new federal rules had just gone into effect before the salmonella outbreak, and things have also changed at the state level to further ensure safety.
He says they have been working to respond to the new federal rules and the inspections will transfer to the state ag department. Vinchattle says the process has been going well and people are doing well with the new rules. The salmonella outbreak was part of a larger issue of safe food production. Vinchattle says the main effort to promote eggs for years has focused on overcoming concerns about their impact on the diet. He says recently updated nutrition information has helped that cause.
Vinchattle says the U.S.D.A recently released new information that showed eggs have 14% less cholesterol than previously thought. He says that’s good for those concerned about cholesterol, but he says they’ve spent decades trying to educate people that its the saturated fat, not the cholesterol that has the most impact on their diet.
Vinchattle says another key health component in eggs also showed improvement. He says there’s more vitamin D in eggs now and the says that is important in calcium absorption and good bone strength. He says Iowa farmers do what they can to give the egg laying hens the best diet possible and that’s whey the nutrition numbers have improved.
Vinchattle says the most recent U.S.D.A. report shows eggs are the lowest cost per serving of protein available to people at a cost of 14-cents per serving. Iowa is the nation’s largest egg producer with some 15-billion produced annually, and the state also is the leading egg processor.