Des Moines Register Prints NAEF Rebuttal Over Iowa Egg Safety
Concerning your article on the suspension of government inspections of Iowa egg farms [Production sites for Iowa's eggs unsuspected for 1 year, March 20], FDA inspections were suspended as a prudent biosecurity measure against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Producers continued to comply, including testing for salmonella, with the FDA Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) rule by purchasing SE clean day-old pullet chicks that originated from USDA, National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) egg-type breeding flocks participating in the U.S. SE Clean program. These were hatched in NPIP U.S. SE Clean Hatcheries. Most egg producers also test chick papers for SE. Producers continue to test for SE environmentally in pullets at 14-16 weeks of age and in table-egg layers at 40-45 weeks of age. All of this testing is conducted in USDA- and FDA-approved laboratories.
Egg producers continue to comply with the FDA SE Egg Rule biosecurity requirements, which involve many critical control risk management points that can be invaluable risk management tools against HPAI. In 2015 HPAI resulted in unprecedented losses to the egg industry in Iowa estimated at more than $1 billion. This economic threat is reason enough to eliminate SE inspections.
The Des Moines Register quoted Marion Nestle, a nutritionist at New York State University and author of books on food safety, saying this suspension is “jaw-dropping.” Her reference is often made relative to USDA's nutrition recommendations. What does Nestle know about poultry diseases such as avian influenza? Does she understand that avian influenza could also be a human health concern?
We hope the Register will let its readers know that food safety continues to be of paramount concern to Iowa egg farmers and the federal government.