CSPI Applauds Egg Safety Regulation

Proposal Could Eliminate Salmonella in Eggs

September 20, 2004

A regulation proposed today by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could virtually eliminate dangerous Salmonella enteritidis (SE) from eggs, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Salmonella in eggs sickens thousands of consumers each year and kills up to several hundred of those infected. The draft regulation includes comprehensive on-farm hygiene measures, mandatory testing for the hazard, and diversion of eggs from contaminated flocks. Diverted eggs would likely be pasteurized.

“We need these kinds of tough, on-farm controls to eliminate the risk to consumers from tainted eggs,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “This is the first major food safety regulation covering hazards arising on the farm, the area of primary production.”

In 1997, CSPI petitioned the FDA asking for mandatory on-farm controls for Salmonella in eggs, including environmental sampling and diversion of eggs from contaminated flocks. A pilot program in Pennsylvania with similar components helped reduce contamination on farms by more than two-thirds. Exempted from the proposed FDA rule are producers who sell directly to consumers or producers which have fewer than 3,000 laying hens.


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