Egg recall: Mouse, fly infestations date back 10 years, workers say

Just like with the salmonella outbreak involving Peanut Corporation of America, employees of DeCoster egg operations in Iowa are now coming forward to say problems with mice, filth and flies go back at least 10 years.

Past and present workers at Wright County Egg said mouse and fly infestations cited in a federal report stretch back at least a decade.?? The workers also reported ammonia levels high enough to cause chronic health problems, and inconsistent availability of safety equipment such as face masks and gloves.

Dozens of chickens died daily, their bodies lying undiscovered in cages for days, and perhaps weeks, at a time, they said.?? "There’s always been mice," former worker Lucas Garcias said through an interpreter. "I saw maggots and sometimes mice on the conveyor belt.”

And who was governor of Iowa during those years? Step forward current U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack.

Philip Brasher of the also writes today the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is taking a second look at its authority over the Galt feed mill that supplied the DeCoster egg operations. The state agency had decided before the massive egg recall linked to the DeCoster farms that the feed mill was exempt from state oversight. Company officials told inspectors that the DeCoster-owned mill only supplied the company’s hens. That exemption has been called into question by news that the mill was supplying feed to a second company, Hillandale Farms of Iowa, that was also involved in the recall.