Sunday, August 22, 2010

Egg Yegg

"I am not a good American...I prefer to form my own opinions" - George Carlin

1 a : the hard-shelled reproductive body produced by a bird and especially by the common domestic chicken; also : its contents used as food.

A Robber; A burglar

Robber Baron

2 : a business owner or executive who acquires wealth through ethically questionable tactics.

Tell me again douche baggers, how we need less government in our lives. And how business will take care of us if we just give it free rein. Uh huh.

An excerpt from my local newspaper regarding an egg salmonella epidemic. Pay particular attention to the last two paragraphs.

Salmonella outbreak could have been prevented

The salmonella outbreak could have been prevented if new rules to ensure egg safety had been in place a few months earlier, an FDA spokeswoman said.

The rules, which require producers to do more testing for salmonella and take other precautions, went into effect in July. They had languished for more than a decade after President Bill Clinton first proposed that egg standards be toughened. The FDA said in July that the new safeguards could reduce the number of salmonella cases by nearly 60 percent.

"There are preventive measures that would have been in place that could have prevented this," said Sherri McGarry of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Hinda Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Wright County Egg, said it abided (sic) by guidance issued by the United Egg Producers, an industry group. Those procedures mirror several aspects of the federal egg safety rule.

Shell eggs produced by the farms of Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, both of Iowa are subject of a nationwide recall due to contamination with Salmonella. The eggs have been linked to Salmonella illnesses in numerous states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

The Center for Disease Control, CDC, reports 1,953 confirmed SE illnesses in the outbreak period. CDC also estimates that for every confirmed illness, more than 38 go unreported, the real number of ill is probably close to 50,000.

Egg farm's owner has been cited previously

The businessman who owns Wright County Egg, Jack DeCoster, has been cited for numerous health, safety and employment violations in the past. In 1997, DeCoster Egg Farms agreed to pay $2 million in fines to settle citations brought in 1996 for health and safety violations at DeCoster's farm in Turner, Maine.

Wright County Egg already is facing at least two lawsuits related to the recall. One is from food distributor Dutch Farms, which says the company used unauthorized cartons to package and sell eggs under its brand name without its knowledge. The other is from a person who said she became ill after eating tainted eggs in a salad at a restaurant in Kenosha, Wis.

Etcetera, etcetera.

Nuff said, as my friend Punch is wont to say.

Yes, technically, the owner has neither a gun, nor is he a Robber Baron, in the classic sense of the 19th Century. He does however, circumvent ethical practices in the conduct of his business...for the God-Almighty buck. A fine hair of difference, in my view.


diane said...

A responsible government is needed, as this case clearly illustrates. In addition, let us not forget the importance of knowing who your neighbors are & buying locally. (Not to be confused with buying locally without knowledge of the farming practices).

Jerry Critter said...

The purpose of business is to make money. The purpose of government is to "...promote the general Welfare...". These two objectives are often at odds. When government does not do its job, the people suffer, and the rich get richer.

boomer bob said...

I'm a Libertarian, mostly because of their socially progressive ideals, but there's one thing I just cannot get my head around is their philosophy of free market economy. Their theory seems plausible IN A PERFECT WORLD where oligopolists don't take advantage of the weaker because "they can."

Free market economy has proven ineffective again and again through the greed of the large businesses closing out the entrepreneurs. Deregulation of the oil industry is a perfect example of how free market economy runs the world. We don’t have the ability to choose to avoid a product we don’t want to support, there simply are no plausible alternatives in the oil industry. Price-fixing in the oil industry is the standard and anyone who uses fuel is at their mercy. No free market economy there.

In the case of big “egg” business, like the auto industry, the oil industry, etc….. they simply calculate which will cost less – adherence to government regulations or paying fines, creating quality products or paying damages caused by poor quality, a cost-benefit analysis. We rarely have a true alternative in most industries so government intervention is the only real answer.

The problem is that we now have a corrupt government whose pockets are well lined by the "big, bad eggs," so either way, we get it in the shorts.

Punch said...

Let's get out the math book.
$2 million. 1997. 2010 subtract the seven carry the...that's 13 years divide 2,000,000 by 13 subtract ... now multiply... carry the 0 ... oh yeah $153,084 (and change) a year, divide by 12 1...2...7 oh yeah $12,723 (and change) a month divide by 4 Hell, that's $3180 a week!!(and change)
I spend more than that much at dinner, with the government broads, every weekend.
Fuckin' pay it and shut the fuck up! Asshole I own these guys!
Big whoop somebody got sickie wickie, boo hooo.
Poor baby. Grow up dickhead, we don't need no stinkin' nanny's.

Pass me that bottle of Macallan and a fresh glass.
Have a Drink America,
We are!
You punks ain't gonna win, we own the oil, the farms, the eggs, the jobs.
Oh that's right you've got morals. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Buy the way the name is Baron Roberts. Mr. Roberts to you.

Tom Harper said...

As filthy and disease-ridden as factory farms are (without even mentioning the sick treatment of the animals), I'm surprised this kind of sh*t doesn't happen more often.

I'm not saying you can't get food poisoning if you buy all of your food from local farmers and growers, but it would sure cut way down on these salmonella outbreaks. If we were all locavores, our food supply would be a whole lot safer. And as a bonus, those factory farms would have to either clean up their act or go out of business.

Mr. Charleston said...

Sin #1, Greed. Or, as the old folks used to say... Money is the root of all evil.

There's just too damned many of us on this earth. There's just too much shit going on and no way to keep track of it all.

Chimp said...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a Salmonella
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Fined Humpty Dumpty again and again

(And the price of eggs went up to pay for the fines)
To be continued...

gigabiting said...

Know what you're buying. Good post about reading eggs carton labeling.
Cracking the Code

jadedj said...

Sorry everyone, my internet connection has been spastic today. So I'll try this again.

diane---I can't disagree, however many times we don't have that option, especially in cold climates such as mine, in the winter. We are somewhat at the mercy of "supermarket" chains.

Jerry---Precisely. And when government can't be on top of it and is going to set it's priority to cut costs, and get MORE PROFIT. This outbreak is a classic example.

boomer bob---Yep. Well said, and depressing.

Punch---George Carlin told us. He was never wrong about how fucked we are.

Tom---I agree, and we wouldn't be hearing stories such as this even 25 - 30 years ago because Mega Agra-business wasn't in full swing then.

I am surprised also, but I will say in the last few years, I have noticed a decline in food product quality in the chain food stores, and every time we go to the store, I wonder if the ferking food is safe. Paranoia for a reason.

Mr. C---OK, now I am depressed.

Chimp---Har har har. Good one!

gigabiting---Thanks for the information. I definitely am writing down numbers because the farms mentioned in this post supply eggs to the chains in my state.

Sue said...

I buy my eggs local from a chicken guy :-), guess I'm safe...

intelliwench said...

I guess it all depends WHICH government is overseeing and regulating. The current one certainly doesn't have my confidence.

(PS - hope your Monday is less meh this week!)

PENolan said...

Jaded, I'm glad you're working on this one because, frankly, I don't care. I've been buying the fancy, shit free eggs at Whole Foods for a while now. Not the organic ones because, really, who can afford that? But the ones from uncaged chickens. You don't want to eat food that lives and breathes their own shit all the time.
Same with that farmed salmon - although I have to say that I'd rather eat farmed fish these days because I'm concerned about dispersant in the food chain. But, we ate DDT too.
Actually, I'm still convinced that running in the DDT cloud behind the mosquito truck when I was a little kid in Beaumont gave me this autoimmune disease. I believe our very own government banned DDT use but still allows it to be produced and sold South of the Border, where they spray all the produce with it then sell it back to us in our local grocery stores.
The very same grocery stores from which all these dang eggs are being recalled.


jadedj said...

Sue---No chicken man here.

intell---None of them have my confidence.
I forgot that it was Mondeh. My internet was screwy louie yesterday.

PE---Shit, indeed.

Sunny said...



jadedj said...

Sunny---Thanks for the encouragement and kind words. I'll think about that :-)


wonder if any one will 'egg their building'..??

Nan said...

I think the thing that astonished me the most was learning (and it was something that in retrospect I realize I should have known) that the USDA has no regulatory authority. They can't make an egg supplier recall anything -- all they can do is request a voluntary recall. So the producers can just say Fuck you all, and there isn't a thing USDA can do about it. The citations the company in question has gotten in the past were for unsafe working conditions (OSHA type violations) or animal cruelty, both of which would be regulated by agencies other than USDA.

For people who really like eggs but don't have a decent farmer's market around, there is the yard eggs option if you've got the space and zoning laws allow the practice -- chickens make interesting pets, especially some of the more exotic bantam breeds, and just a couple hens will supply an amazing number of eggs. Lots of people in the Atlanta area are doing yard eggs these days.

jadedj said...

YDG---Har har har...that's a good yoke!

Nan---Actually, that is according to my local ragsheet, one of his plants has also been cited and fined in the past for unsanitary conditions. Not sure what that agency would be.

Also it seems to me that to have this large agency and not give it the power to enforce regulations is ludicrous.

Good idea regards raising one's on egg producing chickens. That's certainly how we got our eggs when I was growing up. But, modern America is just too damned lazy and in a hurry for such closeness to it's food sources, methinks.

BTW, I thought this was a 5 star comment...yours, I mean :)

Sunny said...

I don't eat regular eggs anymore. Have known about the crap in them that ruins our health for years. I eat Publix Egg Stirs. No lactose, no cholestral, no fat!

jadedj said...

Sunny---No taste?

John said...

The United Egg Producers is a discredited trade organization with a sordid history of consumer fraud and animal cruelty. The “UEP Certified” program allows hens to be confined in cages that provide each animal less space than a sheet of paper to spend her life. More at

jadedj said...

John---Why as I not surprised? Thanks for taking the time to comment, and thanks for the link.