Questions are being raised in the direction of food safety audits after Congress said Wright County Egg, the company at the head of America's largest egg recall in history, received a "superior" audit rating just two months before 1,600 people were sickened with salmonella-tainted eggs from the company.

Regulations from various organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provide oversight, but actual audits are often conducted by third parties who the auditees themselves pay for. "If a company is purchasing an audit, they may be unwilling to pay for a bad result and unwilling to rehire an audit company that produces the negative result," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.


The industry, said Smith DeWaal, currently relies largely on voluntary standards that have been created by industry groups.