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Published September 03, 2010, 09:29 AM

Former egg farm workers say complaints ignored

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Agriculture Department employees worked full-time at two Iowa egg farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak and massive recall, but two former workers say they didn’t respond to complaints about conditions at one site.

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Agriculture Department employees worked full-time at two Iowa egg farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak and massive recall, but two former workers say they didn’t respond to complaints about conditions at one site.

Agency spokesman Caleb Weaver says the employees’ main duties are to grade eggs in packaging areas and aren’t primarily responsible for looking for health problems.

Two former workers at Wright County Egg facilities, Robert and Deanna Arnold, say they reported problems such as leaking manure and dead chickens to USDA employees but were ignored and told to return to work. Weaver says the USDA employee in charge of the site never received any complaints but that the investigation is continuing.

The salmonella outbreak has led to a recall of about 550 million eggs.

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