FSIS Announced New Egg Inspection Rules
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), for the first time since Congress passed the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) in 1970, will modernize egg product inspection methods. The Egg Products Inspection Regulations final rule aligns the egg products regulations to be consistent with current requirements in the meat and poultry products inspection regulations.
“Requiring egg product plants to develop food safety systems and procedures similar to meat and poultry requirements is a significant milestone in modernizing our inspection system," said FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker, in a press release. “FSIS is continuing to carry out its public health mission to prevent foodborne illness."
With the modernized rule, federally inspected egg products plants are required to develop and implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs). FSIS will continue to test for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in egg products and requires that plants produce egg products that meet food safety standards and are edible without additional preparation and nothing in the final rule changes those requirements.
Under the HACCP system, plants will be able to modify a food safety system that best fits their particular requirements. The removal of specific regulations will allow egg products plants to have the flexibility and the gateway to innovate new safety techniques. FSIS will be assuming regulatory authority over egg substitutes and freeze-dried egg products, which pose the same risk as egg products and will be inspected in the same manner, enhancing the existing food safety system.
“US egg producers and processors remain firmly committed to food safety. We recognize that USDA’s decision is based on the continuous improvement in food safety practices and standards within egg production and processing that have occurred in recent years. United Egg Producers (UEA) Further Processors supports the agency’s decision because it reflects those advancements, while also recognizing the strong dedication that America’s egg farmers and further processors have to assuring a safe, nutritious supply of eggs and egg products, “said Oscar Garrison, senior vice president of food safety regulatory affair at UEP.
The rule also accounts for new regulations regarding foreign egg products. FSIS will notify foreign countries of the regulatory changes. Countries that have ongoing equivalence and most countries that have requested initial equivalence for egg products already have HACCP implemented for egg products for their domestic products. Read the new rule here.