Oklahoma Egg Producer Wants To Set Record Straight

Sunday, August 22nd 2010, 3:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

OSAGE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA -- The Food and Drug Administration is getting closer to finding the source of a salmonella outbreak involving eggs. The outbreak has already led to the recall of more than half a billion eggs in several states, including Oklahoma. 

Can one supplier be blamed?

Osage County farmer Marshall Hager says no, but this recall proves the benefits of buying local.

Hager has been a farmer for 15 years. His 20 acres of land is home to horses, goats, cows and lots of chickens. Hager has 100 free range chickens, plus...

"I have 20 chickens in a pin simply because it's easier than going on an Easter egg hunt every day," said Hager.

In the springtime, Hager gets almost 20 dozen eggs a day. Things are slow right now, but he prides himself on fresh eggs that go straight to the customer -- no middleman, no push for profit.

"Our eggs are normally no more than three days old when they are sold and most of the eggs in the store are up to six months old before they are put in a carton," said Hager.

Hager says he's not surprised by the nationwide recall. He blames it on how some egg facilities operate.

"When we get eggs, we get eggs. I don't mess with Mother Nature by giving them the hormones and the chemicals to make them lay eggs," said Hager.

8/20/2010  Related Story: Massive Egg Recall Now Includes Oklahoma

Since the recall, Hager has seen a jump in calls from people wanting to buy local.

"These big outbreaks of E. coli or salmonella just reinforces to buy local where you don't have those type of problems," said Hager. "I eat my three, four, five eggs a day and I'm still standing."

Hager says he has never had any health scares related to his eggs, just one customer upset about his price. He charges $2 a dozen and says his family barely breaks even.

The FDA estimates one in every 20,000 eggs may contain salmonella. That's a contamination rate of .005 percent.

Read the FDA news release on the recall.