FSIS Proposes HACCP Rule for Egg Products

January 9, 2018

The Food Safety and Inspection Service proposed to regulate processed egg products through HACCP rules, a break from the command-and-control regulations that continued to operate for egg processors for decades after meat and poultry plants were regulated through HACCP.

HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is already used in almost all egg products plants because of customer requirements and the plants’ own food safety protocols.  However, regulatory HACCP is not identical to private-sector HACCP, so the details of FSIS’s proposal will be important to understand.

The proposed rule, not yet published in the Federal Register, was posted on FSIS’s website on January 9.  The rule will be open for public comments for 120 days.  The Further Processors Division of United Egg Association will review the rule with its membership and provide detailed comments to FSIS.

In introducing the rule, FSIS states that it will:

  • Allow product labels to be generically approved;
  • Make egg product labeling requirements consistent with those for shell eggs;
  • Require handling instructions on egg products;
  • Eliminate current requirements that plant drawings, specifications and equipment be approved prior to implementation;
  • Make procedures for enforcement actions consistent with those for other FSIS-regulated industries; and
  • Change the interpretation of “continuous inspection” compared to current practice. Under the last point, FSIS states: “Inspection will no longer be conducted during all processing operations, but may instead be provided once per shift.”

UEP released the following statement to the media: “Egg processors share USDA’s commitment to advancing workable, effective food safety programs. Our products are pasteurized to ensure food safety. This is a complex, 254-page proposed rule with detailed measures related to converting to a HACCP-based inspection system. Our members will rely on the scheduled comment period to conduct an intensive internal review and will provide our collective comments to the agency.”