NAEF Objects to Trade Deals Beyond EPIA Requirements
On June 16, 2014 USDA Secretary Vilsack was meeting with the EU Agriculture Ministers over trade issues, word was circulating in the egg products industry that certain egg products plants in the EU were being considered for import privileges to the U.S. NAEF addressed the issue by voicing its objections with the Deputy Administrator at the Food Safety Inspection Service and citing current regulation. NAEF noted that since all egg products sold for human food in the U.S. operate under the Egg Products Inspection Act 9 CFR Part 590 (EPIA), NAEF asked the Administrator to please confirm that no egg products are being imported aside from these requirements. NAEF also asked for confirmation that the FSIS is not exploring the feasibility of granting egg product import approval from EU egg products facilities. While these EU facilities are state-of-the-art in processing technology, NAEF subscribes that the eggs being processed must still be handled consistent with 9 CFR Part 590. For example§ 590.50 Temperature and labeling requirements (a) No shell egg handler shall possess any shell eggs that are packed into containers destined for the ultimate consumer unless they are stored and transported under refrigeration at an ambient temperature of no greater than 45 °F (7.2 °C). Eggs processed in the EU are not temperature regulated consistent with this requirement. Furthermore, many EU egg products plants are not operating consistent with § 590.24 Egg products plants requiring continuous inspection. No plant in which egg products processing operations are conducted shall process egg products without continuous inspection under these regulations, except as expressly exempted in § 590.100. While § 590.100 provides for specific exemptions, they are exempt to the extent prescribed as to the provision for continuous inspection of processing operations in section 5(a) of the Act: Provided, That the conditions for exemption and provisions of these regulations are met: (b) Subject to the approval of the Administrator.