Ag Secretary Asked to Confirm Safety of EU Egg Products by NAEF
June 30, 2014
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The National Association of Egg Farmers, representing egg farmers coast-to-coast, applauds your recent efforts toward expanding on trade negotiations with the European Union. During these negotiations we read with interest in CQ Roll Call your comments that it was “very important for us to convey the message that we have a common goal of expanding markets and a common language when it comes to resolving these issues, and that language is science.” We agree and support the continued efforts to use “science” in making decisions concerning foods we produce, export or import.
We know that FSIS is currently inspecting EU egg products facilities to determine equivalency under the Egg Products Inspection Act 9 CFR Part 590. NAEF wrote to Philip Derfler, Deputy Administrator of the FSIS seeking assurances that equivalency with the U.S. standards as specified in the EPIA are maintained before granting export authority by any foreign facility to the U.S..
We are asking for your assurances that, in addition to equivalency, that geographical preferences do not compromise food safety for U.S. consumers. For example, the website shown below confirms that some EU egg products facilities adds food dyes to enhance the color of egg yolks in addition to meat as preferred by EU consumers. There is one food dye in use in the EU that is a cause for concern from a food safety perspective. The European Food Safety Authority reports the food dye known as Red 2G and is found in sausages and beef burgers to maintain a red color may be carcinogenic. This food color additive is banned in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
In the UK, the preference is for a darker egg yolk and this is accomplished by pigmented feed with food dyes as noted in this website
The EU practice of dying the egg yolks a deeper color is compounded by the concern for Dioxin. When poultry are subjected to soils contaminated with this cancer-causing substance in the soil is may occur in the eggs produced. Free-range poultry and the eggs from these chickens are more prevalent in the EU than in the U.S. adding another layer of concern from Dioxin-contamination.
The NAEF is asking you to give us your assurance that no adulterated foods imported from other countries including egg products that may come from chickens fed a pigmented feed with artificial dyes or raised in free-range environments unless that environment is tested for Dioxin.