Food recalls are most importantly a public health issue, but they are also significant economic issues. The average cost of a recall to a food company is $10M in direct costs, in addition to brand damage and lost sales according to a joint industry study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Millions of eggs are recalled annually because they could be contaminated with Salmonella. It's one of the main pain points that drives table egg producers to refocus on biosecurity. But how do the bacteria get into eggs in the first place?
Salmonella contamination often happens inside the chicken itself. That's because Salmonella bacteria can colonize the ovaries of the chicken and get inserted into the egg during egg formation. So keeping Salmonella out of live birds is top priority. There are two areas of focus. Firstly, the layer industry works incredibly hard to keep Salmonella out of its genetics flocks and hatcheries, so pullets arrive on layer farms free from Salmonella. Anitox partners with all the main genetics companies to ensure feed isn't an entry route for salmonella in those hatcheries.
Until recently, such high biosecurity has been less evident in commercial layer flocks, but that's changing. Several high profile egg producers have been forced to recall high volumes of eggs from retail in the past 5 years. The costs, in many cases, have been devastating to balance sheets and reputations. As a result, we've seen demand for clean feed for commercial layers rise. Today Anitox works with all the egg category leaders in the US and in many European and Asia territories, helping to keep their table eggs Salmonella free.