FDA Warning Letters a Reminder for all Egg Farmers

March 7, 2019

On February 27, FDA released warning letters to two shell egg farms from inspections conducted last year.  These letters convey critical reminders for all egg producers.

  • Review each farm’s specific Salmonella enteritidis (SE) prevention plan regularly and adjust as needed.
  • Immediately adjust the plan when changes occur on the farm.
  • Frequently train staff on proper implementation of the SE prevention plan.

The first farm, Gravel Ridge, located in Cullman, Alabama, was linked to a SE outbreak in August of 2018.  The letter notes that the FDA and CDC linked the farm to 44 ill individuals through epidemiology, tracebacks, and laboratory evidence.  Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was utilized to link the clinical isolates from ill individuals to an identical match found from an environmental swab in a layer house.

The warning letter lists violations including failure to implement a written SE prevention plan, not procuring pullets from SE negative flocks, not testing pullets at 14 to 16 weeks, no protection against cross-contamination from visitors, no pest control, no biosecurity measures, and failure to conduct environmental testing as required.  The letter leaves the future of Gravel Ridge Farm unclear as it states the farm has recalled all eggs, depopulated all flocks, and ceased egg production.

The second letter went to Walnut Ridge Farm in Ovid, New York, also resulting from an inspection conducted last year by the agency.   This letter was not associated with an outbreak.   The violations listed include failing to implement a written “farm specific” SE prevention plan, no testing of pullets, no records of SE prevention, and no rodent monitoring inside the houses.