The egg farm that spread the salmonella outbreak throughout the country was found to have a rodent problem that went unattended by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Dozens of dead and living rodents were found inside of hen houses at the North Carolina farm. The facility didn't attempt to fix the problem before the outbreak started.
Unacceptable Rodent Activity
A report of the egg farm by the FDA shows that there was a heavy rodent infestation at the Rose Acre Farms. In the report, it says that the farm failed to take action against the rodent infestation. Rodents were found to be burrowing in manure piles.
Inspectors also found insects around the chicken feeds around the farm. They also found employees had been touching body parts and dirty surfaces when handling food at the farm. Specifically, they touched their faces, hair, buttocks, and dirty surfaces then handling food without gloves. This activity had been going on at the farm for months prior to the salmonella outbreak.
Inspectors found mouse carcasses inside and outside of the hen houses. At the farms, production equipment was found to be covered in dirt and food debris. For multiple days during the inspection, they went unclean.
Inspectors also saw an employee cleaning equipment with a steel wool scrubber that had been stored in a pool of dirty water. They also observed condensation dripping from ceilings, pipes, and walls falling onto production equipment.
In the report, inspectors say that the conditions found in the egg farm allowed pathogens to thrive that could cause egg contamination. They added that if the farm had taken measures to change the conditions, they may have been able to stop the salmonella outbreak from happening.
The inspection was carried out on the farm as a response to the outbreak that occurred. It took place from March 26 to April 11, 2018. The farm was having a rodent problem since at least September 2017.
The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the salmonella outbreak says that 12 more people were found to be sick from eggs contaminated with salmonella. There have been no deaths since the outbreak began, though many people have been hospitalized as a result.
The ages of those who have become sick range from 1 to 90 years old. The median age for those sick is 65 years old. Nine states have been affected by the outbreak including Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.