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US egg farmers adopt rules to reduce salmonella

America's egg farmers are committed to working with the Food and Drug Administration to ensure the egg safety regulations are implemented and the gains in food safety are maintained.

"Egg farmers have practiced the requirements of the new regulations for many years now and have achieved significant success in food safety for our customers," said Gene Gregory, president of United Egg Producers.

As a result of the industry's proactive efforts, consumers have benefited from reduced rates of Salmonella Enteritidis and other food safety concerns, reports Business Wire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have documented reductions in Salmonellosis in states where producers have put egg production safety practices into effect. The programmes currently used by egg farmers are designed around food safety and consumer health much in the same way the FDA's new programme has been developed.

FDA started in 1999 on egg production safety regulations to address concerns with Salmonella Enteritidis in eggs. In the 10 years leading up to these newly announced regulations, egg producers continued to improve egg safety through preventative measures in housing and storage while they waited for the final Federal rule, reports state.

During the FDA's development process, United Egg Producers made suggestions to improve the original proposal for egg safety regulations and while many guidelines were adapted, some suggestions that the industry still considers important were not accepted.

"Although many important guidelines that we submitted to FDA were not considered, we will carefully study the entire final rule and work with FDA to make sure it is implemented in a way that is fair to producers and advances food safety for consumers," said Gregory.

Egg producers are confident the programme will further reduce illness associated from contaminated eggs and note that it is important to understand the estimates of reduced illnesses published by FDA are based on statistical extrapolations used to estimate the total number of illnesses and not on a count of illnesses that have actually occurred in the recent past.

Source: Business Wire

Natalie Berkhout

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