Recent reports on the Wright County egg outbreak investigation seem to have put the final nail in the coffin on the early suggestion that the source of the contamination was from outside of Wright County’s facility. The Wall Street Journal today reported that:
The [FDA][,] [after early tests showed that Wright County’s chicken feed was positive for salmonella] collected and tested samples from companies that shipped feed ingredients to Wright County Egg, which had its own mill that produced finished feed for its chickens. Those tests so far have failed to find salmonella at the suppliers, raising the possibility that the contamination occurred after the feed shipments were delivered.
I would add a dose of epidemiology as well. Not only were the feed ingredients not contaminated, but also, as we learned earlier this week, Wright County’s facilities tested positive an unbelievable 426 times for salmonella from 2008 through the early part of the outbreak . . . in 2010 (in fact, 67 in 2010). 73 of those 426 positive samples tested positive for Salmonella enteritidis, which happens to be the outbreak strain of salmonella. Admittedly, we don’t yet know whether those positive SE samples match the outbreak strain, but because some of them were generated close to the time of the outbreak, it may be likely that one or more of them were. The point: my bet is that, whether or not the feed was the immediate source of infection for the flock, salmonella bacteria within Wright County’s facilities was what caused this massive outbreak and recall.
Post script: I guess there’s no need for us to conduct environmental or product tests at our Rule 34 inspection of Wright County’s henhouses.