FDA issues warning letter to egg producer: “Not Uncommon” says Egg Salmonella Lawyer
Gravel Ridge Farms, in Cullman, Alabama, was identified as the source of a multi-state outbreak of salmonella related to the consumption of eggs in 2018. In February 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the egg producer, which had to recall approximately 660,000 shell eggs produced between May 22 and August 29, 2018.
The FDA detailed in its letter the many violations they found in an inspection of the Gravel Ridge Farms egg production facility in September 2018. Specifically, inspectors determined that 45 people in 12 states were infected with the same strain of salmonella found in one environmental swab from the farm’s egg laying house No. 2 and one environmental swab from its egg laying house No. 4.
According to the CDC: “CDC advises consumers, restaurants, and retailers not to eat, serve, or sell Gravel Ridge Farms cage-free large eggs, which have been linked to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections.”
In the letter, Steven B. Barber, Division V Director, Office of Human and Animal Foods Operations-East, addressed Gravel Ridge Farms and its role in the salmonella outbreak, saying the farm’s “shell eggs are adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act, 21 USC 342(a)(4), in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”
Gravel Ridge Farms was found to be in violation of so many food safety regulations that Barber indicated it was “unlikely to become operational.” He warned, though, that if the farm did restart egg production, that it would have to “work with the Alabama Department of Agriculture to ensure you follow the requirements of the egg safety rule. If you plan to resume operations, you should provide documentation of any corrective actions taken including sanitation steps performed in the laying houses. We will verify the implementation of your corrective actions and their adequacy during the next FDA inspection.”