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USDA, FDA Establish Export Certification Program for U.S. Egg-Containing Food Products

CFSAN Constituent Update

April 5, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is alerting the food industry to a new program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to certify exports of a wide range of U.S. products containing eggs. Many foreign countries and firms require such certifications as a condition of purchase of imported food to ensure its safety and wholesomeness.

The program was established in collaboration with FDA and will be operated by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Under the program, a producing firm may request an AMS export certificate for its facility and individual products in order to facilitate sales to a foreign buyer.

The certification procedures require onsite verification by AMS inspectors that the facility employs adequate manufacturing practices and operates under sanitary conditions. When a foreign government identifies specific additional import requirements, such as microbiological testing or source material requirements to provide assurance that a product is fit for human consumption, the AMS onsite verification will include these criteria.

Upon completion of the verification process, the firm may request registration of specific products and submit a request for an export certificate for individual export shipments. The AMS certificate will identify production lots and will provide assurance that the processing was monitored by a U.S. government agency and conducted under sanitary processing procedures. The certificate will also state that the product is fit for human consumption.

USDA established the certification program in collaboration with FDA because both agencies regulate egg products. In general USDA regulates liquid, dried and frozen egg products while FDA’s area of regulation includes precooked eggs and egg products, such as omelets, patties and hard-cooked eggs.

More information on the program, including directions on how to participate in it, is available at the AMS website.

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