Apr04

Des Moines Register Prints 2nd Rebuttal by NAEF on Egg Safety

On April 3rd, the Des Moines Register printed this second rebuttal by NAEF on the safety of eggs from Iowa's caged layers.

The March 28 editorial “Iowa’s egg policy threatens the public, industry” disparages an important industry to Iowa, as well as the federal inspection process, and does a disservice to the readers of the Register. The editorial’s haranguing the 2010 salmonella outbreak associated with the DeCoster’s is not connected with the inspection process in place today. The editorial’s criticisms are leveled at the entire commercial egg industry in Iowa, when in fact the food safety complaints in the editorial center more on the backyard flocks with less than 3,000 chickens.

As of July 9, 2012, egg farmers with more than 3,000 chickens must comply with Title 21 Code of the Federal Register Part 118 “Prevention of Salmonella Enteriditis (SE) in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage and Transportation.” This includes testing for salmonella environmentally in young chickens at 14-16 weeks of age and again in adult chickens at 40-45 weeks of age. This testing is conducted in U.S. Department of Agriculture- and the Food and Drug Administration-approved laboratories using USDA- and FDA-approved salmonella isolation and identification conventional methodology or FDA-approved commercially produced SE diagnostic test kits.

Egg farmers with more than 3,000 chickens continue to comply with the FDA SE Egg Rule biosecurity requirements, which involve many critical control risk management points which can be invaluable risk management tools for other diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. In 2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza resulted in unprecedented losses to the egg industry in Iowa. This economic threat is reason enough to postpone SE inspections.

We hope Iowa consumers understand that egg farmers and federal inspectors are intent on ensuring a safe and wholesome egg is available today in stores throughout the state.