Local egg rancher talks safety, business after recall

By Michael Slother - email

IDALOU, TX (KCBD) - While some have shied away from buying eggs, an egg ranch outside Lubbock has seen a little more business since the recall. The Idalou Egg Ranch has been in the business for 35 years, and we got to go inside their operation to see how they keep safe and why they're doing a little bit better after the recall.

Inside the ranch you'll find nearly a quarter million chickens. General manager Ron Christensen says all are salmonella free. "A lot of what we do is cleaning, and that is part of our quality control. If you clean, if you test, if you monitor, if you vaccinate like we do for salmonella, it shouldn't be a problem."

They take such extreme precautions; even I was required to suit up before I'm allowed in. "We're always watching out for bird safety by security coming from the outside. We interview anybody coming from the outside such as yourself, we put scrubs on them, to keep any bacteria they come in out," said Christensen.

The day to day operations are centered on safety. "From sweeping the floors, to cleaning the machines, checking the eggs, you saw us doing quality control on eggs in numerous places," said Christensen.

In addition to making sure they provide a safe place for their birds, they also make sure eggs are refrigerated daily to keep bacteria like salmonella out. "It's very important that we refrigerate the eggs, salmonella can't grow in a cold environment."
The Idalou Egg Ranch produces organic eggs for areas in Texas and California. There's a laundry list of requirements to be considered organic. "Organic feed, organic disinfectants, no pesticides, no antibiotics. We do vaccinate, but were regulated by organic agencies," Christensen told us.

But are organic eggs any safer? "I think it's more in the eye of the beholder, we never had a salmonella issue in 30 years with a cage product and we haven't had one now with the 5 years of organic."
At a time where people are more skeptical off eggs than ever, this ranch is doing well because of it. "Our company sales have increased slightly due to the fact that so many eggs have been pulled off the shelves we've been asked to help fill those empty shelves."

This isn't just a small operation. The egg ranch produces 180,000 eggs per day and around 65 million per year.

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