United Poultry Concers
30 November 2010
Hillandale Farms and Wright County, Iowa Egg Farms Investigation 2010

“Cloacadoodledoo,” Harper's Magazine, Nov. 2010, p. 24:  

From Food and Drug Administration inspection reports on Hillandale Farms and Wright County Egg farms, filed in August 2010 after these Iowa farms recalled over 500 million eggs due to reports of salmonella poisoning.

The entrance door to Houses 11 and 12 was blocked with excessive amounts of manure.

Liquid manure was observed to be streaming out of the east door or the manure pit.

The outside access doors to the manure pits had been pushed out by the weight of the manure, leaving open access to wildlife or domesticated animals.

Approximately thirty-five uncaged hens were tracking manure into the caged hen-house area.

Chicken manure below the egg-laying operation was observed to be approximately four feet to eight feet high.

Uncaged birds (chickens having escaped) were observed using the manure, which was approximately eight feet high, to access the egg-laying area.

There were approximately twenty unsealed rodent holes on the south wall. A rodent was observed running into one of the rodent holes.

An approximately 2- x 6-inch wood board was observed on the ground with approximately eight frogs living underneath.

Live and dead flies too numerous to count were observed. The live flies were on and around egg belts, feed, eggs, and walkways in different sections of each egg-laying area. In addition, live and dead maggots too numerous to count were observed on the manure pit floor.


From “Conditions at Iowa egg farms deplorable,” Feedstuffs, Sept. 6, 2010, pp. 1, 10.

“Agents for the Food & Drug Administration found condemnable conditions at the two Iowa egg farms linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened almost 1,500 people. FDA officials, in a conference call with reporters last week, said their agents had completed an investigation that began Aug. 12 and covered more than 70 barns at the two farms and a feed mill.

“FDA said the inspection found 4-8 ft.-high manure piles – piles so high that they broke and pushed open doors to manure pits, providing egress for flies, rodents and wild birds; the agency found uncovered feed bins with holes in them where rodents could get inside, hens outside their cages running and tracking manure throughout houses, bird nests in houses and numerous other problems.

“FDA said workers moved from house to house without changing protective clothing or even wearing protective clothing, and equipment was also moved from location to location without being sanitized.

“The two farms, Hillandale Farms of Iowa near New Hampton, Iowa, and Wright County Egg Co., near Galt, Iowa, are owned by Austin ‘Jack’ DeCoster, who has a history of citations related to environmental, immigration, worker pay and safety and animal care violations at his egg . . . operations in Iowa, Maine and elsewhere. . . .

“Hillandale houses 2 million layers [egg-laying hens], and Wright County houses 5.5 million layers, and the two farms have recalled 550 million eggs produced since the [Salmonella enteritidis]outbreaks reported in 22 states] began in mid-May, although most of the eggs have already been consumed. The farms currently are diverting eggs to breaking plants, where they are further processed and pasteurized into liquid, dry and frozen egg products.”

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