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HHS/FDA RIN: 0910-AC14 Publication ID: Spring 2002 
Title: Control of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production and Retail 
Abstract: The President's Council on Food Safety was established in August 1998 to improve the safety of the food supply through science-based regulations and well-coordinated inspection, enforcement, research, and education programs. The Council has identified egg safety as one component of the public health issue of food safety that warrants immediate Federal, interagency action. In July 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) committed to developing an action plan to address the presence of salmonella enteritidis (SE) in shell eggs and egg products using a farm-to-table approach. FDA and FSIS held a public meeting on August 26, 1999, to obtain stakeholder input on the draft goals, as well as to further develop the objectives and action items for the action plan. The Egg Safety Action Plan was announced on December 11, 1999. The goal of the Action Plan is to reduce egg-related SE illnesses by 50 percent by 2005 and eliminate egg-related SE illnesses by 2010. The Egg Safety Action Plan consists of eight objectives covering all stages of the farm-to-table continuum as well as support functions. On March 30, 2000 (Columbus, OH), April 6, 2000 (Sacramento, CA), and July 31, 2000 (Washington, DC), joint public meetings were held by FDA and FSIS to solicit and discuss information related to the implementation of the objectives in the Egg Safety Action Plan. In accordance with discussions at the public meetings, FDA intends to publish a proposed rule to require that shell eggs be produced under an SE risk reduction plan that is designed to prevent transovarian SE from contaminating eggs at the farm during production. Because egg safety is a farm-to-table effort, FDA intends to include in its proposal certain provisions of the 1999 Food Code that are relevant to how eggs are handled, prepared, and served at certain retail establishments. In addition, the agency plans to propose specific requirements for certain retail establishments that serve populations most at-risk of egg-related illness (i.e., the elderly, children, and the immunocompromised). 
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector 
CFR Citation: 21 CFR 16    21 CFR 116    21 CFR 118   
Legal Authority: 21 USC 321    21 USC 342    21 USC 371    21 USC 381    21 USC 393    42 USC 243    42 USC 264    42 USC 271    ...   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: FDA is proposing regulations as part of the farm-to-table safety system for eggs outlined by the President's Council on Food Safety in its Egg Safety Action Plan to require that shell egg producers implement SE risk reduction plans at the farm and that retail establishments institute certain egg-relevant provisions of the 1999 Food Code. FDA intends to propose these regulations because of the continued reports of outbreaks of foodborne illness and death caused by SE that are associated with the consumption of shell eggs. The agency believes these regulations can have significant effect in reducing the risk of illness from SE-contaminated eggs and will contribute significantly to the interim public health goal of the Egg Safety Action Plan of a 50 percent reduction in egg-related SE illness by 2005.

Summary of the Legal Basis: FDA's legal basis for the proposed rule derives in part from sections 402(a)(4), and 701(a) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the Act)((21 U.S.C. 342(a)(4) and 371(a)). Under section 402(a)(4) of the Act, a food is adulterated if it is prepared, packed, or held in insanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health. Under section 701(a) of the Act, FDA is authorized to issue regulations for the efficient enforcement of the Act. FDA also intends to rely on section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264), which gives FDA authority to promulgate regulations to control the spread of communicable disease. Scientific reports in published literature and data gathered from existing voluntary egg quality assurance programs indicates that measures designed to prevent SE from entering a poultry house (e.g., rodent/pest control, use of chicks from SE-monitored breeders, and biosecurity programs) can be very effective in reducing SE-contamination of eggs and related foodborne illness. Moreover, the use of shell eggs or egg products that have been treated to destroy SE or thorough cooking of untreated eggs in retail establishments will significantly contribute to the reduction of egg-related SE illnesses.

Alternatives: There are several alternatives that the agency intends to consider in the proposed rule. The principal alternatives include: (1) no new regulatory action; (2) alternative testing requirements; (3) alternative on-farm mitigation measures; (4) alternative retail requirements; and (5) HACCP. FDA will consider the information that it receives in response to the public meetings in its consideration of the various alternatives.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The benefits from the proposed regulation to control Salmonella Enteritidis in shell eggs on the farm and at retail derive from better farming practices and safer handling and cooking of eggs at the retail level. Improved practices reduce contamination and generate benefits measured as the value of the human illnesses prevented. FDA has produced preliminary estimates of costs and benefits for a number of options. The mitigations that would produce the highest benefits include on-farm rodent control, changes in retail food preparation practices, and diversion of eggs from infected flocks to pasteurization. Other mitigations considered include record keeping, refrigeration, and feed testing. The actual costs and benefits of the proposed rule will depend upon the set of mitigations chosen and the set of entities covered by the proposed rule.

Risks: Any potential for contamination of eggs with SE and its subsequent survival or growth must be considered a very serious risk because of the possibility that such contamination, survival and growth could cause widespread foodborne illness, including some severe long-term effects and even loss of life. FDA made a decision to publish a proposed rule to require that shell egg producers have on-farm SE risk reduction plans and that retail establishments institute certain egg-relevant provisions of the 1999 Food Code based on a considerable body of evidence, literature and expertise in this area. In addition, this decision was also based on the USDA risk assessment on SE in shell eggs and egg products and the identified public health benefits associated with controlling SE in eggs at the farm and retail levels.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  12/00/2002    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Rebecca Buckner
Consumer Safety Officer
Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration
HFS-306, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-316), 5100 Paint Branch Parkway,
College Park, MD 20740
Phone:301 436-1486
Fax:301 436-2632

Nancy Bufano
Consumer Safety Officer
Department of Health and Human Services
Food and Drug Administration
HFS-306, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway,
College Park, MD 20740
Phone:301 436-1493
Fax:301 436-2632

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