WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A U.S. egg producer linked to an outbreak of salmonella knew of the possible presence of the bacteria in its hen houses as far back as 2008, records show.
Documents released Tuesday by congressional investigators show there were 73 instances over about two years in which tests in Wright County Egg's barns in Iowa showed the presence of salmonella bacteria, including the strain that infects eggs and causes human illness, The New York Times reported.
Company records provided to investigators "did not show whether Wright County Egg took appropriate steps to protect the public after receiving the positive test results," Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote in a letter to the company.
Stupak has scheduled a hearing at which Wright County Egg owner Austin J. DeCoster is expected to testify.
Stupak's letter asked DeCoster to be prepared to testify about what actions his company took after the positive test results and "whether you shared these results with FDA or other federal or state food safety officials."
Wright County Egg and another company, Hillandale Farms, recalled more than 500 million eggs last month after health officials traced salmonella bacteria to the two companies.