Breaking Down the Egg Safety Rule: Biosecurity and Pest Control Programs
October 14, 2011

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a rule that set out several measures to be taken by egg producers to prevent the contamination of shell eggs with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) during egg production. Two of the most important measures include biosecurity and pest control.

Biosecurity is a set of practices put in place to limit the spread of SE both onto and off of the poultry farm. SE can be introduced to a farm by humans through contaminated clothing and equipment as well as pests, including domestic and wild animals and insects. To limit or reduce the risk of SE introduction, the Egg Safety Rule requires egg producers to limit visitors, maintain practices that protect against cross contamination between farms and between poultry houses, prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats, and other animals from entering poultry houses, and not allow employees to keep birds at home.

Pests, especially rodents and flies, are significant source for SE transmission. The Egg Safety Rule requires monitoring and measuring pest activity helps determine if the pest population is being controlled, and if not, calls for the egg producer to take action to reduce the population. Rodent and fly populations can be controlled by picking up debris and maintaining vegetation around the house, cleaning up any spilled feed that could attract pests, and keeping places that house these pests, like a chicken house or storage shed, free of holes, dry, and well-ventilated.