Des Moines Register Defames Iowa Egg Industry and NAEF Sets Record Straight

Des Moines Register Defames Iowa Egg Industry and NAEF Sets Record Straight

Dear Editor,

It is disheartening to read the defamation heaped on Iowa egg farmers by the Des Moines Editorial Board in today’s edition entitled “Egg Safety Rules Full of Cracks”. 


It’s apparent this board wants to tighten the reins on egg farmers with additional regulations when they are already complying with the most comprehensive of food safety requirements in the history of the egg industry.  This board cites the actions of the one egg farmer and his son who were criminally prosecuted as if what they did was a common practice for all egg farmers in the state.  This is untrue.  I was there during the Congressional oversight hearings of this father and son in Washington, DC and saw the pitiful example they portrayed of farming. 

Having been on the farms of many Iowa egg farmers, I know firsthand what this board does not understand, that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) egg safety rule [21 C.F.R. part 118 ThePrevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation] went into effect on July 9, 2010 and is now fully operational.  I was personally involved as the industry representative in providing input into this rule when FDA first proposed it during the Clinton Administration.  The rule provided guidance on recordkeeping for (1) biosecurity (2) monitoring for flies and other vectors that may spread Salmonella, and (3) acceptable manure removal.  After a lifetime in the egg industry, and after personally visiting egg farmers on six continents, I was able to see the production practices in comparison to Iowa egg farmers.  The board should boast of the egg farmers accomplishments rather than label the egg farmers as complicit with that father and son who were recently prosecuted for circumventing the rule.  FDA has detailed in the rule procedures for a clean environment for the chickens.  FDA has detailed in the rule how to monitor the environment to determine if the cleaning protocols are being followed.  The sampling and testing procedures are thoroughly recorded for federal inspector oversight of the entire farm.  The rule cites the scientific articles that substantiate the protocols established for Iowa egg farmers.  So, instead of using one farmer to discredit an entire industry, this board should investigate the accomplishments of the Iowa egg farmers and assure consumers nationwide that Iowa egg farmers today are world leaders in producing a safe and wholesome egg.