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McDonald's, Target drop egg supplier after probe

November 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
McDonald's and Target dropped one of the nation's largest egg suppliers after a probe by an animal rights group.

The fast food giant said Friday that it had dropped Sparboe Farms as a supplier after a video by the group Mercy for Animals showed cases of animal cruelty at five facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado.

Target soon followed, saying it would pull eggs from the Litchfield, Minn.-based company off its shelves.

Sparboe said it is creating a task force to review the company's food safety and animal care.

Sparboe produces 300 million eggs a year, in regular, liquid, frozen and dried form, and ships them to restaurants and stores across the U.S. The company's Vincent, Iowa, plant had billed itself as the sole fresh egg supplier to every McDonald's west of the Mississippi River.

McDonald's and Target's moves also followed a warning letter to Sparboe Farms dated Wednesday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that said inspectors found "serious violations" at five Sparboe facilities of federal regulations meant to prevent salmonella.

The warning said eggs from those facilities "have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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