Final portion of Egg Safety Rule in effect

A set of regulations that aim to curb Salmonella enteriditis infections went into full effect yesterday.

This last set of regulations, which stem from the 2009 Egg Safety Rule, requires shell egg producers to implement measures to prevent Salmonella enteriditis contamination during the production process, storage and transport.

The rules have been phased in throughout the last three years, with the final measures taking effect yesterday.

The last set of egg producers to fall under the new rule are those facilities with more than 3,000 laying hens but fewer than 50,000. Since 2010, the rule only had applied to producers with 50,000 or more laying hens. Producers with 3,000 or fewer hens are exempt for the rule, but fall under separate measures passed in 2010.

So, what does the new rule entail?

  • Chicks and young birds only may be bought from suppliers who monitor for Salmonella.
  • To check prevention plans, producers must perform environmental testing in poultry houses when the flock is between 40 –45 weeks old. If positive results are found, the producers must adjust their prevention plans and begin testing eggs.
  • Prevention plans must include pest, rodent and biosecurity controls.
  • Unpasteurized in-shell egg products must be refrigerated at 45°F or colder during transportation and storage. This must occur no later than 36 hours after the egg was laid.
  • Unpasteurized in-shell egg products must undergo testing for Salmonella enteritidis.
  • If Salmonella enteriditis is found in a facility, the facility must be sanitized and the eggs either must be pasteurized or used for something other than food.

In a press release announcing the implementation of the 2010 phase of the rule, the FDA stated the new measures may prevent 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths each year from Salmonella enteriditis infections.

Salmonella enteriditis is one of the most prevalent causes of Salmonella infections, with most Salmonella enteriditis infections being linked to eggs. Although eggs may appear normal and clean, the bacteria can reside within the egg, causing infection if the egg isn’t fully cooked.

To read the full rule, click here.

For a  breakdown of the Egg Safety Rule, click here.

For a list of Neogen’s Salmonella testing products, click here.

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