UEP hosts 2023 Area Briefings

August 24, 2023

UEP would like to thank everyone who participated in the Area Briefings held in four virtual sessions on Aug. 15-16. Through UEA Allied's sponsorship, UEP was able to reach over 200 registered lines. Based on member feedback, UEP understands there were many more tuning in, as multiple companies utilize these briefings to bring employees together to hear from UEP staff on issues facing the egg industry. Total attendees likely exceeded 500. Conducting Area Briefings virtually allows UEP to provide essential industry updates to a broader audience than ever before, and it would not be possible without backing from the Allied Industry Division.

During the briefings, staff shared valuable information on current and future UEP and industry initiatives – including opening comments by the Area Chairs. President and CEO Chad Gregory provided comments on various industry issues, including an update on the EATS Act and the upcoming farm bill. Gregory reminded attendees that Area nominations for the UEP Board are open through Aug. 31. Nominations may be emailed to Gregory at chaduep@unitedegg.com.

Animal Health & Biosecurity 

Oscar Garrison, SVP of food safety regulatory affairs, provided an update on the 2022-2023 HPAI outbreak and the ongoing incidence of Coryza. Garrison noted 17 confirmations in commercial turkey, broiler breeder flocks and upland game bird operations in 2023, with the last commercial detection on April 19. In addition, 3 Live Bird Markets in New York tested positive between July 27 and Aug. 2. Garrison noted that wild birds continue to be the greatest threat to flocks, with 7,151 wild bird detections in 49 states in the ongoing outbreak. With autumnal migration around the corner, Garrison encouraged all producers to maintain heightened biosecurity as the best defense to keep HPAI off farms. 

Animal Welfare 

Dr. Larry Sadler, SVP of animal welfare, reminded UEP Certified participants that all caregivers must view the UEP Certified training videos by Oct. 31, 2023. Dr. Sadler reported over 60% of the UEP Certified audits are complete, and the deadline for completion is Nov. 30. He also provided an update on the National Organic Program’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards, noting it is currently with OMB and so the final rule may be released within the next 90 days. Dr. Sadler concluded the animal welfare section with an update on current cage-free data, and reviewed the UEP State Housing Summary document in his overview of states implementing cage-free legislation.

Food Safety Report

Garrison provided a food safety regulatory report, sharing an update on the FDA Traceability Rule, and reminded producers the compliance date for all persons subject to the recordkeeping requirements is Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2026. Garrison also mentioned FDA’s implementation of the Laboratory Accreditation for Analyses of Foods (LAAF) Program and the registry of six FDA-recognized accreditation bodies within the program. Only three LAAF-accredited laboratories currently conduct Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) shell egg testing. The use of an accredited lab for egg testing will not occur until FDA feels there is enough capacity across the country, and FDA then will publish a docket informing the industry they have six months to comply.

Environment & Sustainability

In the environment and sustainability update, Gregory discussed a joint sustainability meeting between UEP and AEB that occurred in June to identify the next steps around the egg industry’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Both organizations continue working through the LCA and will update stakeholders, retailers, consumers and other organizations when available. The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Egg (US-RSPE) Framework completed its first year with numerous egg producers submitting data. For more information about the Framework, email framework-help@us-rspe.org.