Iowa Egg Farms More Cautious Since Recent Salmonella Recalls

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

Kalona, Iowa - The recalled eggs make up less than one percent of all US produced eggs. But some Iowa egg farmers say they're all getting a bad rap. FDA regulations or not, safety is what many farmers say is their number one priority.

While Wright County Egg and Hillandale farms contributed to the salmonella recall, most area egg farmers are small family owned businesses that are not involved. They say their eggs aren't contaminated because they follow strict safety guidelines. 12,000 of these hens produce eggs that organic farmer Dale Schrock says are safe to eat.

"You're going to have a healthy bird, you're going to ward off sickness," said Schrock Farm owner Dale Schrock.

But suspected unhealthy birds from Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms produced a half billion salmonella infected eggs. But not all Iowa eggs are bad.

"The recall is what less than one percent," said Schrock.

Eggs from the Schrock Farm are wrapped up and taken to the Farmer's Hen House in Kalona where the eggs are then sent to grocery stores or other distributors.

"We've been very busy with calls from people just wanting to make sure they're safe," said Farmer's Hen House General Manager Ryan Miller.

So far so good. General Manager Ryan Miller says they follow strict guidelines.

"We monitor the wash water temperature and the pH and both things are done to make sure we don't have bacteria growing on the egg," said Miller.

420,000 to 480,000 eggs are refrigerated in 40 degree coolers, washed in 90 degree water, sized, and packaged there daily.

"All those things are to keep bacteria fresh and from bacteria growing especially salmonella," said Miller.

But the real leg work starts at the farm with flock vaccination and rodent control.

"Keep the weeds down around the building try to keep the building tight," said Schrock.

Those precautions help to keep many Iowa eggs virus free.

"At this point we've never had a problem in this facility," said Schrock.

FDA guidelines mostly regulate large companies with flocks of 50,000 hen or more. But even some small facilities like the Farmers Hen House or Schrock Farm follow those same guidelines. Many more are implementing more regulations in light of the recent outbreak. In 2012, all farms will have to follow the same rules.
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