"Egg farm regulations still skimpy" is the headline over a Des Moines Register article that appears in USA Today. The article reports:
One year after 1,900 people were sickened and a half-billion Iowa eggs were recalled, government inspectors continue to find unsanitary conditions and inadequate protections against salmonella on Iowa's egg farms....some of Iowa's major egg producers aren't meeting minimum federal standards intended to protect consumers from salmonella enteritidis.
It looks as though there's actually quite a bit of regulation — "minimum federal standards" and "government inspectors" at egg farms — but that it isn't working all that well. The implicit assumption of the article is that more government regulation would improve the situation rather than just failing at a higher cost to taxpayers than the existing regulation. This is often the reaction to a regulatory failure, whether it involves eggs or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rather than examine the entire approach or move toward private- or self-regulation, the press and politicians prefer to do more of the same.
For what it's worth, the "skimpy" regulation – the Egg Products Inspection Act — runs 26 sections over 13 pages of small type, with language such as:
(f) The term "egg product" means any dried, frozen, or liquid eggs, with or without added in- gredients, excepting products which contain eggs only in a relatively small proportion or historically have not been, in the judgment of the Secretary, considered by consumers as products of the egg food industry, and which may be ex- empted by the Secretary under such conditions as he may prescribe to assure that the egg ingre- dients are not adulterated and such products are not represented as egg products.
(g) The term "egg" means the shell egg of the domesticated chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea.
(1) The term "check" means an egg that has a broken shell or crack in the shell but has its shell membranes intact and contents not leaking.
For what it's worth, the revolving door is a potential issue here: the government relations page of United Egg Producers, which represents "the ownership of approximately 95% of all the nation's egg-laying hens," boasts, "Our Washington team has over a century of combined experience in government affairs. The team includes two former chiefs of staff for the Senate Agriculture Committee; the former head of poultry programs at USDA; and two former Deputy Under Secretaries of Agriculture."