Animal Health now has the power to fine egg producers and distributors up to £4500 for not complying with new salmonella testing requirements.
These powers, applicable to all commercial flocks in England of 350 or more laying hens, will be used from 14 December 2009. It also applies to some smaller commercial flocks also
Under the National Control Plan, producers are required to regularly (every 15 weeks) test their sheds housing layers producing eggs being sold as Class A. Class A eggs are shell eggs that are intended for human consumption through retail outlets.
The rules, however, do not apply to Class B eggs, which are those that cannot be marketed for human consumption unless they have been heat treated (pasteurised). These are commonly used in the manufacture of catering products, such as omelette mixes and egg mayonnaise.
Nick James, head of regulatory affairs at Animal Health said: “The power to issue penalty notices is important in helping to ensure that all those involved in the egg industry keep to the rules.
“They should be welcomed by everyone, producer, packer, retailer and consumer, as they help maintain confidence in the quality and safety of English eggs.
“Egg producers must ensure that they keep their testing and record-keeping up to date. Packers and distributors should now to put in place systems to assure themselves that the eggs they market are correctly labelled.”