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FDA Issues Guidance on New Safety Rules for Shell Eggs

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Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Food and Drug Administration

April 13, 2010

On April 13, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published guidance for small egg producers to help them comply with a new federal egg safety regulation. The guidance, entitled “Guidance for Industry: Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Transportation, and Storage: Small Entity Compliance Guide (SECG),” can be accessed at Guidance for Industry: Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Transportation, and Storage; Small Entity Compliance Guide and is intended to set forth in plain language the requirements of the new egg safety rule to help small businesses comply with the regulation.

The FDA published the egg safety regulation in July 2009. The new law requires egg producers to have preventive measures in place during the production of shell eggs in poultry houses and requires subsequent refrigeration during storage and transportation.

The rule affects all egg producers with 3,000 or more laying hens who do not sell all of their shell eggs directly to consumers. Producers with at least 3,000 but fewer than 50,000 laying hens must comply with the new regulation by July 2012. Producers with 50,000 or more laying hens must be in compliance with the rule by July 2010. Producers with fewer than 3,000 laying hens are exempt from the requirements.

The new rule is part of a coordinated strategy between the FDA and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to help ensure egg safety. The regulation is expected to prevent thousands of cases of foodborne illnesses and approximately 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis each year.

For more information, see Egg Safety Final Rule.

This guidance describes FDA’s current thinking on the egg safety rule and should be used only as recommendations, not requirements. The Agency encourages you to contact the FDA if you have any questions or suggestions to this guidance document.