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What's In Your Egg McMuffin?

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 18, 2011 10:05PM

2011_11_18EggMcMuffin.jpg Frankly, we've never been quite sure that the strange yellow patty in an Egg McMuffin actually came from a chicken. Turns out it does, and that it also may have been contaminated with all sorts of nasty things.

Sparboe Farms, the country's fifth-largest egg producer and a major supplier of eggs to McDonald's, has just been cited by the FDA for a whole series of health and sanitation violations. The citation was released Wednesday and it took McDonald's less than two days to ditch Sparboe; they now need to find a new egg supplier.

Iowa-based Sparboe Farms supplied eggs to all of the McDonald's restuarants west of the Mississippi. The FDA inspected Sparboe farms back in July (read the official letter here) and cited them for a number of violations.

The FDA found that Sparboe's facilities "have serious violations of the Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis" regulations, and "failed to use appropriate methods to achieve satisfactory rodent control." The FDA has stepped up inspections of poultry and egg operations, after last year's outbreak of Salmonella from Wright Country Eggs in Iowa.

It gets worse. An undercover investigation being broadcast tonight on ABC news shows rodents, vermin and serious problems with animal cruelty.

The Mercy for Animals activist who went undercover to record the video inside Sparboe told ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, "I saw workers do horrendous things to birds, they were thrown, grabbed by the neck, they're slammed in and out of cages."

At least McDonald's dropped them as a supplier - though this incident may indicate a need for fast food companies to start doing their own supply-chain management. At least, if they care about keeping their customers from getting salmonella. McDonald's insists there was no health risks to its customers, because all of the eggs were thoroughly cooked before serving.

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