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California farmers get the squeeze in fight to battle salmonella

September 1, 2010 | 10:02 pm

Egg_farms
Amid a rolling landscape of browning chaparral and battered trailers, Alan and Ryan Armstrong's metal hen houses line up like military barracks. Keeping their 450,000 birds safe — and keeping Salmonella enteritidis out of their hen houses — is a daily battle.

Since they were old enough to drive the family skip loader and shovel chicken droppings, the Armstrong brothers followed a state-sanctioned quality-assurance program designed to curtail salmonella in eggs. So have dozens more California egg farmers, who helped develop the guidelines alongside federal and state officials following a salmonella outbreak 15 years ago that sickened thousands of people.

The program, which includes vaccinating hens and testing barns regularly for bacteria, has essentially wiped out salmonella on California farms, industry officials say. Yet only nine other states have enacted similar government-sponsored efforts. Read more in P.J. Huffstutter's article in Wednesday's Business section:

Photo: Francisco Jimenez Cruz gathers eggs laid by Leghorn hens at Armstrong Egg Farms in Valley Center, Calif., in northern San Diego County.  Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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