POSTED: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 9:17am
UPDATED: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 1:05pm
More than half-a-billion eggs could be tainted with salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday no salmonella has been found outside of the the two farms already blamed for the outbreak that has prompted the recall of nearly half-a-billion eggs, but investigators think the disease might have come from outside those facilities.
The outbreak has sickened more than 1,000 Americans.
Two outfits in Iowa, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, are linked to the outbreak, but the Food and Drug Administration fears feed or chicks brought to the farms from outside brought in the salmonella.
"We may see some additional sort of sub-recalls over the next couple of days, maybe even weeks, as we better understand the network of distribution of these eggs that are potentially contaminated," warned FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.
At the center of the investigation is Jack Decoster, an egg producer with a bad reputation.
He's been labeled an "habitual violator" by the state of Iowa for pollution offenses and fined for animal cruelty.
Decoster's firm says all issues were addressed.
Decoster supplied chickens and feed to Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms.
The Obama Administration put stricter eggs rules into effect in July, requiring hens be certified salmonella-free and eggs to be kept colder and be tested more, but the crackdown came too late
to stop the current salmonella outbreak.
The FDA is asking the Senate for authority to routinely send inspectors into eggs farms, which the agency currently does not do.
The House green-lit that last year in a food bill that is still stuck in Congress.