By Julian Pecquet - 09/14/10 08:00 PM EDT
Energy and Commerce Democrats on Tuesday wrote to the owner of an Iowa egg farm linked to a recent salmonella outbreak that has sickened 1,519 people to demand answers about positive salmonella tests at the farm prior to the recent incident.
Wright County Egg owner Austin DeCoster has agreed to testify at an oversight subcommittee hearing next Tuesday. His farm received 426 positive results for salmonella between 2008 and 2010, according to documents obtained by the panel, including 73 samples that were potentially positive for the strain linked to the recent outbreak.
Wright County Egg did not share that information in its response for documents ahead of the hearing, prompting Tuesday's letter.
"When you testify before the Committee," the letter states, "we ask that you come prepared to explain why your facilities tested potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis contamination on so many occasions, what steps you took to address the contamination identified in these test results, and whether you shared these results with FDA or other federal or state food safety officials."
The letter is signed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.).