FDA Issues Final Guidance for Shell Egg Producers who Provide Laying Hens with Access to Areas Outside the Poultry House
August 10, 2022
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued final guidance for shell egg producers on how to comply with certain provisions in the final rule titled, "Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation” (egg rule).
The final guidance, “Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation (Layers with Access to Areas Outside the Poultry House): Questions and Answers Regarding the Final Rule,” is the FDA’s fourth guidance to help industry comply with the egg rule. This guidance provides recommendations on how egg producers who allow hens access to areas outside the poultry house can meet requirements to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) from contaminating shell eggs on the farm. A significant change from the draft guidance issued in July 2013 is that the FDA is designating a porch as an area outside the poultry house rather than part of the poultry house. The FDA made this change, in part, in response to comments submitted to the draft guidance.
The FDA believes that egg producers can provide laying hens with access to areas outside the poultry house, which includes porches, outdoor runs and pastures, and still comply with the egg rule. In order to be compliant, egg producers must take steps to ensure there is no introduction or transfer of SE into or among poultry houses. They can achieve this by taking practical steps to control for SE in the areas outside the poultry house, to help ensure that SE will not be introduced into the poultry house. The guidance describes the most common types of egg production operations for laying hens with access to areas outside the poultry house, and explains how egg producers can take SE prevention measures such as monitoring for rodents and flies in areas outside the poultry house to help prevent SE in shell eggs.
The egg rule, which was finalized in 2009 and took effect in 2010, is designed to prevent SE from contaminating shell eggs on the farm and to prevent SE growth during storage and transportation. SE is the most common cause of foodborne illness outbreaks tied to consumption of shell eggs. The egg rule requires that virtually all egg producers with 3,000 or more laying hens adopt measures designed to prevent SE.
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