Southern Indiana company at center of egg recall

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SEYMOUR, Ind. (WTHR) - A business in a southern Indiana town has found itself in the middle of a massive egg recall.

Seymour-based Rose Acre Farms recalled more than 200 million eggs after some were found to be tainted with salmonella and reportedly connected to 22 cases of foodborne illness.

The eggs were traced to a facility Rose Acre Farms owns in North Carolina which distributed eggs to nine states.

While Indiana was not among them, Seymour is mentioned just about every time the recall is.

At Larrison's Diner in downtown Seymour, Charles Amers had just finished reading about it USA Today.

"Yea, I'm surprised to see that," Amers said. "Rose Acre started in Seymour and spread out. It's now all over."

The family owned business, which began in the 1930s, is now the second-largest egg producer in the country, employing roughly 2,000 people across its facilities.

"I know some of the family, not well but yes, it's come down thru several generations," said Nancy Fleming. "(It's) very unfortunate the company had to recall so much product," but added she was also "concerned for all the people that bought the eggs" that might have been contaminated.

Rose Acre Farms released a statement about the recall that reads in part:

To date 22 illnesses have been reported. Some of the reported illnesses were linked to grocery stores where Rose Acre Farms does not supply eggs at all. Nevertheless, the company conducted the recall out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing everything possible to preserve the trust we have built with consumers and their families for many decades.

Diner owner Liz Larrision said the eggs she buys come from a supplier that uses a producer other than Rose Acre Farms.

Larrison, who worked at Rose Acre in 1996, called it "a great company to work for," adding "I know a lot of people that work out there now and it's just an unfortunate thing that happened."

Lisa Ferguson agreed.

"They've been a wonderful partner to our schools," Ferguson said. "They're very involved in Seymour."

Ferguson is the assistant superintendent for Seymour Community Schools, which just received $50,000 from the company for a new food science lab at Seymour High School.

Fleming said she preferred Seymour be in the news for being "an up and growing small town and of course, we all know John Mellencamp is from here."

As for the cause of the outbreak and financial impact, Rose Acre spokesman Gene Grabowski said it was too early to speculate.

He described the owners as a "tight-knit, religious family" who "feel terrible about what happened."

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