In the concurrence letter from the Food and Drug Administration addressed to Jack DeCoster in early December, the FDA communication makes mention of Salmonella Heidelberg in the required program of suppressing Salmonella enteritidis, which is the principal focus of the Final Rule. Mention of other than a Group D Salmonella creates concern.

Although S. Heidelberg along with many other Salmonella serotype is potentially pathogenic to consumers, there is no evidence that serotypes other than SE can be transmitted by the vertical route. Contamination of the surface of shells with Group B and Group C Salmonella should be inactivated by effective washing in an efficient and well-managed plant. It is understood from industry sources that FDA does not intend to initiate a program requiring either depletion or diversion in the event of detecting Salmonella Heidelberg.

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The present action relates specifically to Wright County Eggs where S. Heidelberg was detected in the process of extensive environmental sampling. There is concern that this aspect of the Wright County Egg investigation has created a precedent since FDA has the authority to investigate outbreaks of any food-borne disease. In the event of a traceback due to a non-Type D Salmonella it is presumed that appropriate remedial action will be required or mandated.