The USDA's proposed rule seeks to modernize egg products plants' inspection systems.
WASHINGTON — The US Dept. of Agriculture announced a proposed rule by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that would modernize the inspection systems at egg production facilities. The rule would require processors to use methods that produce finished products free of detectable pathogens. Processors would be required to produce preventative food safety plan documents and meet other sanitation requirements under a plan to align egg products inspections rules with those governing meat and poultry.

Businesses would be instructed to craft Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures and meet other sanitation requirements contained in meat and poultry regulations. The plan calls for elimination of existing egg product provisions that don’t align with meat and poultry rules.

The proposal was announced Jan. 9 by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which calls the amended rules a critical step forward in making egg products safer for Americans to eat.

Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for food safety

“As we continue to modernize inspection systems and processes, we are committed to strengthening consistency across the services that FSIS inspection personnel carry out for the consuming public,” said Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for food safety.

FSIS anticipates more efficient use of agency resources and elimination of regulatory obstacles to food safety innovation.

The service said HACCP plans give processors the leeway to tailor food safety systems to their facility and equipment, and noted that 93 percent of egg products plants currently maintain written HACCP plans that address at least one production step in their process.

“This proposed rule will ensure the same level of inspection and oversight of all regulated products as we carry out our public health mission,” Rottenberg said.

A 120-day comment period will open upon publication of the intended rule in the Federal Register.