DeLauro Seeks Information on FDA Oversight of Egg Safety
WASHINGTON, DC (October 4, 2018) — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today wrote a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., asking for specific information concerning the oversight of shell eggs and the implementation of the 2010 Egg Safety Rule. In 2018 there have been two major Salmonella outbreaks responsible for 45 illnesses and 11 hospilizations in 10 states – resulting in the recall of more than 206 million eggs.
“I write to express my concern regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) oversight of shell eggs given two large, nationwide recalls so far this year alone,” wrote DeLauro. “In 2010 the FDA issued a final Egg Safety Rule for egg producers with 50,000 or more laying hens. Under this rule, egg producers must implement safety standards to control risks associated with pests, rodents, and other hazards; they must purchase chicks and hens from suppliers who control for Salmonella in their flocks; while also satisfying testing, cleaning, and refrigeration provisions to prevent Salmonella.
“Nonetheless, there have been two very large outbreaks in shell eggs this year, resulting in the total recall of more than 206 million eggs. A Salmonella Braenderup outbreak, linked to eggs from Rose Acre Farms, caused 45 illnesses and 11 hospitalizations in 10 states. Inspectors at the farm found rodent infestation, ineffective pest controls, and unsanitary conditions,” continued DeLauro. “Given the potential for illness caused by shell eggs, as demonstrated by the 2018 outbreaks, I seek written responses to the following questions:
1. How many inspections has FDA conducted since the 2010 regulation went into effect, and what have been the results of these inspections? What is the nature of the majority of the violations?
2. To what extent has FDA assessed the effectiveness of the egg safety rule in preventing foodborne illness?
3. To what extent has FDA collaborated with USDA agencies, including AMS, APHIS, and FSIS in overseeing shell eggs, since 2010 and especially during the 2018 Salmonella outbreaks?
4. How, if at all, does FDA coordinate with state and local health departments on monitoring safe handling and good manufacturing practices in shell egg processing plants?
5. With regard to the 2018 outbreaks of Salmonella related to Rose Acre Farms and Gravel Ridge Farms, what challenges has FDA faced in identifying the cause of the outbreak, and what improvements could be taken to strengthen oversight of shell eggs and improve investigations of egg-related outbreaks of foodborne illness?”
A copy of the full letter can be found here. DeLauro is a senior Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the FDA.