April 9, 2020
UEP staff and consultants have been in constant communication with the FDA, petitioning it to take actions to increase the supply of eggs at retail. As a result, FDA issued the following guidance:
On April 3, FDA released the guidance document, Temporary Policy Regarding Packaging and Labeling of Shell Eggs Sold by Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The guidance states, “FDA does not intend to object to the sale by retail food establishments of shell eggs in cartons or flats without labels, provided the following circumstances are present:”
On April 6, FDA released the guidance document, “Temporary Policy Regarding Enforcement of 21 CFR Part 118 (the Egg Safety Rule) During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The guidance permits temporary flexibility to allow producers who currently only sell eggs to facilities for further processing (e.g., into “egg products”) to sell to the table egg market, provided certain circumstances and requirements are met.
UEP commentary: The Egg Safety Rule is specific in the requirement that if ANY eggs at a particular farm do not receive a treatment for Salmonella enteritidis, the farm must comply with all of the requirements of the rule for egg production on that farm. This guidance will allow for certain houses on a particular farm that have met all the requirements of the egg safety rule for the life of the flock, including pullet monitoring, to follow this guidance for a path to the table egg market. This guidance also requires that those houses on the farm that will remain in the products market to also immediately come into compliance with certain provisions of the rule.
FDA does not intend to object if shell eggs from a poultry house consisting solely of laying hens up to 45 weeks of age are sold to the table egg market provided the following conditions are present:
For Poultry Houses Providing Eggs to the Table Egg Market:
For Poultry Houses Not Providing Eggs to the Table Egg Market
“Before sending any eggs to the table egg market, a producer complies with all requirements of the Egg Safety Rule for poultry houses that are not sending eggs to the table egg market (e.g., biosecurity, rodent and pest control, cleaning and disinfection, refrigeration, and recordkeeping), except for testing and SE monitored pullets. This policy does not apply to poultry houses with laying hens over 45 weeks of age at the time this guidance is issued. Egg producers whose poultry houses have laying hens over 45 weeks of age that have been sending the eggs for further processing may continue to do so.”
These policies are intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). FDA encourages all shell egg producers to continue to comply with applicable requirements of 21 CFR part 118 (the Egg Safety Rule).
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