NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The salmonella scare may not be over.
On Monday, the FDA admitted there could be tainted eggs out there that it knows nothing of, and the Administration is asking Congress for stronger enforcement powers so it can prevent outbreaks – not just respond to them.
“These rules put in place for the very time very rigorous, specific safety standards,” said Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. “So that we can hold companies accountable.”
The egg industry has consolidated in recent years and fewer, larger businesses now control much of the nation’s egg supply.
The half-billion eggs covered by this recall come from just two Iowa companies, but they’re sold across the country under two dozen different brand names.
The two companies share a common link: Owner and supplier Austin “Jack” DeCoster – a businessman with a troubled legal history.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich blamed DeCoster for “some of the most heinous workplace violations” he’d ever seen.
The Iowa Supreme Court called DeCoster a “repeat violator.”
And earlier this year, the man paid a fine after workers were caught mistreating chickens at his company in Maine.
“Clearly this company was cutting corners in lots of area, including in food safety,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, the Director of Food Safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
About 1,300 people have gotten sick from contaminated eggs – and that number is expected to grow.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to both farms asking for information about company operations and its communications with the government.