Breaking Down the Egg Safety Rule: Diversion of eggs from the table egg market
November 15, 2011

The main goal of the FDA Egg Safety Rule is to reduce the number of human Salmonella Enteritidis infections from eggs. The required preventative measures discussed in the last few blogs do just that—reduce and/or prevent the transmission of SE onto the farm and therefore significantly lowering the risk foodborne illness from contaminated eggs.

The Egg Safety Rule also requires testing of the poultry house environment to establish the effectiveness of the required SE preventative measures—chick procurement, biosecurity, pest control, and cleaning and disinfection—and to gain information on the SE status of the farm. Testing of the environment takes place at three periods during the laying hen’s life cycle-14-16 weeks, 40-45 weeks, and 4-6 weeks after molting. These periods signify the times during the life cycle that, if present in the bird, SE will be shed at the highest concentration in the environment.

If any samples are found positive during environmental testing, egg producers are required to do additional testing and take immediate action to assure that SE contaminated eggs do not reach consumers. Egg testing takes place over eight weeks to ensure eggs produced are negative for SE. Once the eggs are deemed safe for consumption, they are directed back into the market.

Egg producers continue to work hard to ensure proper implementation of the Egg Safety Rule and other food safety practices to ensure consumers are receiving a safe, high quality product!