FDA Releases Draft Guidance on the Egg Safety Rule and Outdoor Access
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued the long-awaited draft guidance to assist egg producers who utilize outdoor access areas and must comply with FDA’s 2009 rule regarding Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in Shell Eggs. The draft guidance includes questions and answers about how to apply the egg safety rule in the outdoor access area.
OTA’s work to ensure safe eggs and outdoor access for poultry
Seeing the language in the draft guidance released by FDA today shows that OTA and its egg producer members made their stance clear: organic egg producers can and do produce safe eggs for consumers, and they are committed to providing outdoor access for poultry.
OTA has worked diligently to ensure that FDA’s 2009 rule regarding Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in Shell Eggs and any corresponding guidance would not conflict with organic standards. In August of 2011, OTA egg producer members across the United States flew in to meet with FDA, USDA and Congress to exchange information about the compatibility of the new FDA egg safety rule and organic standards requiring outdoor access for layers. Presenting a unified front, these producers delivered the message that NOP regulations require all chickens to have access to the outdoors, and that organic producers not only support outdoor access but have done so with an excellent food safety record.
With the assistance of OTA organic egg producers, FDA has spent the last year visiting organic farms to better understand their management systems and the food safety measures used throughout their operations.
Comment Period Opens
The draft guidance will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Electronic or written comments can be submitted within 60 days of publication (September 24, 2013).
To share your thoughts, please contact, Gwendolyn Wyard, OTA’s Regulatory Director of Organic Standards and Food Safety.