Local egg producer fears drop in sales after recall

August 23, 2010 7:40:47 PM PDT
The head of the FDA said on Monday the agency must have better prevention measures when it comes to keeping eggs free of salmonella. That admission came with a warning for the public: do not eat runny eggs. Local egg producers are worried that this recall will hurt their business, even though they are following strict standards to make sure this doesn't happen here.

At Sunrise Farms in Petaluma, it's never been a question of which came first because the eggs -- a million a day -- just always seem to keep coming. However, now the question is whether customers will keep coming back for more.

"My concern is consumer confidence," says Arnie Riebli from Sunrise Farms.

Sunrise Farms is part of a collective that provides nearly all the eggs sold in Northern California grocery stores.

They're not part of the recall that now covers more than half a billion eggs, but as head as head of the California Egg Farmers, Riebli fears consumers might not know that or care.

"I'm disappointed that it happened, that my industry allowed that to happen. I think we could have done a better job," says Riebli.

The FDA said it appears the outbreak is linked and limited to a pair of Iowa farms.

"This is the first major food safety issue that I'm aware of associated with his companies," says FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what caused the contamination.

While the FDA has acknowledged that the federal government may have been slow to respond to the salmonella outbreak caused by tainted eggs, California growers like those here at Sunrise Farms say they've long been ahead of the curve.

"We have been doing salmonella testing for 15 years," says Riebli.

For protective measure, hens at Sunrise also see a vet more than most humans see a doctor -- four times a year.

Eggs are washed down before they're shipped stores and birds are kept out of contact with feces.

While the FDA warns against eating runny yolks, Riebli isn't changing his ways. He loves sunny-side up eggs and lots of them.

"I have five of them every morning for myself. I'm serious and my cholesterol is 185," says Riebli.


Load Comments