FDA Publishes Industry Guidance on Shell Egg Rule
On August 10, 2022, FDA announced that it had issued a final guidance document for shell egg producers who provide laying hens with access to outside areas. The guidance intends to help shell egg producers to comply with certain provisions of the final rule on the “Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation” (egg rule), which was finalized in 2009.
The final guidance, titled “Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation: Questions and Answers Regarding the Final Rule”, focuses on how producers who allow hens to access areas outside of the poultry house (including porches, outdoor runs, and pastures) can meet the egg rule requirements to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) from contaminating shell eggs. The guidance provides producers with steps they can take to ensure that there is no transfer of SE into, or among, the poultry houses, including monitoring for flies and rodents in areas outside the poultry house.
The egg rule is intended to prevent SE from contaminating shell eggs on the farm and prevent SE growth during transportation and storage. FDA notes that SE is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses that are associated with the consumption of shell eggs.