June 8, 2016
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sent a letter and video to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) requesting an investigation of the "Shell Egg Production Facility in Turner." In response to this complaint, the Department is conducting an investigation into the assertions made regarding that facility.
In the interim, the DACF is issuing the following statement regarding food safety as it relates to eggs from the Turner facility.
The DACF has assessed whether there is any immediate threat to human health from the eggs produced at the Turner facility. We have no evidence that would suggest or indicate the eggs coming from those facilities are unsafe for human consumption. As always consumers are advised to continue normal handling and cooking practices.
Food safety surveillance reports conducted at the state level (part of Maine's SE Risk Reduction Program for Commercial Poultry Operations with over 10,000 birds) for the Hillandale facilities suggest that the eggs from the facility are safe for human consumption. This is ongoing surveillance, with years of data to support this claim.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has jurisdiction over egg-producing facilities of this size, and they employ their own inspectors, as does USDA. Egg safety at the facility is FDA jurisdiction, under the Egg Safety Rule. Maine's Salmonella enteritidis (SE) monitoring program, which helps producers meet the requirements of the FDA's Egg Safety Rule, applies to facilities with 10,000 or more laying hens producing eggs for human consumption.
We have had no reports of food safety violations at the facility now or in the recent past.
State inspectors are routinely present at the site constantly monitoring and testing for any increased levels of disease pathogens. To date, our records are complete and do not show abnormal levels.