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USDA/FSIS RIN: 0583-AC58 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Egg Products Inspection Regulations 
Abstract: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to require egg products plants and establishments that pasteurize shell eggs to develop and implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). FSIS also is proposing pathogen reduction performance standards that would be applicable to egg products and pasteurized shell eggs. FSIS is proposing to amend the Federal egg products inspection regulations by removing current requirements for prior approval by FSIS of egg products plant drawings, specifications, and equipment prior to their use in official plants. The Agency also plans to eliminate the prior label approval system for egg products. This proposal will not encompass shell egg packers. In the near future, FSIS will initiate non-regulatory outreach efforts for shell egg packers that will provide information intended to help them to safely process shell eggs intended for human consumption or further processing. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 9 CFR 590.570; 9 CFR 590.575; 9 CFR 590.146; 9 CFR 590.10; 9 CFR 590.411; 9 CFR 590.502; 9 CFR 590.504; 9 CFR 590.580; 9 CFR 591; ... (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal Authority: 21 USC 1031 to 1056 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The actions being proposed are part of FSIS' regulatory reform effort to improve FSIS' shell egg and egg products food safety regulations, better define the roles of Government and the regulated industry, encourage innovations that will improve food safety, remove unnecessary regulatory burdens on inspected egg products plants, and make the egg products regulations as consistent as possible with the Agency's meat and poultry products regulations. FSIS also is taking these actions in light of changing inspection priorities and recent findings of Salmonella in pasteurized egg products. This proposal is directly related to FSIS' PR/HACCP initiative.

Summary of the Legal Basis: This proposed rule is authorized under the Egg Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 1031 to 1056). It is not the result of any specific mandate by the Congress or a Federal court.

Alternatives: A team of FSIS economists and food technologists is conducting a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the potential economic impacts of several alternatives on the public, egg products industry, and FSIS. These alternatives include: (1) Taking no regulatory action; (2) requiring all inspected egg products plants to develop, adopt, and implement written sanitation SOPs and HACCP plans; and (3) converting to a lethality-based pathogen reduction performance standard many of the current highly prescriptive egg products processing requirements. The team will consider the effects of a uniform, across-the-board standard for all egg products; a performance standard based on the relative risk of different classes of egg products; and a performance standard based on the relative risks to public health of different production processes.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: FSIS is analyzing the potential costs of this proposed rulemaking to industry, FSIS and other Federal agencies, State and local governments, small entities, and foreign countries. The expected costs to industry will depend on a number of factors. These costs include the required lethality, or level of pathogen reduction, and the cost of HACCP plan and sanitation SOP development, implementation, and associated employee training. The pathogen reduction costs will depend on the amount of reduction sought and on the classes of product, product formulations, or processes. Relative enforcement costs to FSIS and Food and Drug Administration may change because the two agencies share responsibility for inspection and oversight of the egg industry and a common farm-to-table approach for shell egg and egg products food safety. Other Federal agencies and local governments are not likely to be affected. Egg and egg product inspection systems of foreign countries wishing to export eggs and egg products to the U.S. must be equivalent to the U.S. system. FSIS will consult with these countries, as needed, if and when this proposal becomes effective. This proposal is not likely to have a significant impact on small entities. The entities that would be directly affected by this proposal would be the approximately 80 federally inspected egg products plants, most of which are small businesses, according to Small Business Administration criteria. If necessary, FSIS will develop compliance guides to assist these small firms in implementing the proposed requirements. Potential benefits associated with this rulemaking include: Improvements in human health due to pathogen reduction; improved utilization of FSIS inspection program resources; and cost savings resulting from the flexibility of egg products plants in achieving a lethality-based pathogen reduction performance standard. Once specific alternatives are identified, economic analysis will identify the quantitative and qualitative benefits associated with each alternative. Human health benefits from this rulemaking are likely to be small because of the low level of (chiefly post-processing) contamination of pasteurized egg products. In light of recent scientific studies that raise questions about the efficacy of current regulations, however, it is likely that measurable reductions will be achieved in the risk of foodborne illness. The preliminary anticipated annualized costs of the proposed action are approximately $7.0 million. The preliminary anticipated benefits of the proposed action are approximately $90.0 million per year.

Risks: FSIS believes that this regulatory action may result in a further reduction in the risks associated with egg products. The development of a lethality-based pathogen reduction performance standard for egg products, replacing command-and-control regulations, will remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles to, and provide incentives for, innovation to improve the safety of egg products. To assess the potential risk-reduction impacts of this rulemaking on the public, an intra-Agency group of scientific and technical experts is conducting a risk management analysis. The group has been charged with identifying the lethality requirement sufficient to ensure the safety of egg products and the alternative methods for implementing the requirement. FSIS has developed new risk assessments for SE in eggs and for Salmonella spp. in liquid egg products to evaluate the risk associated with the regulatory alternatives.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  06/00/2010   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Victoria Levine
Program Analyst, Issuances Staff (IS)
Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Office of Policy and Program Development, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6079, South Building,
Washington, DC 20250-3700
Phone:202 720-5627
Fax:202 690-0486
Email: victoria.levine@fsis.usda.gov

 
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