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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Illogical Decision to Ban Breaking of Broiler Hatching Eggs


In 2018, the National Chicken Council petitioned for an exemption from the proposed FDA Final Rule on Salmonella to allow surplus broiler hatching eggs unsuitable for incubation to be broken and pasteurized in breaking plants under the jurisdiction of FSIS.


The problem arises from the FDA requirement concerning refrigeration within a short period after collection.  This is impractical with hatching eggs that cannot be refrigerated until graded at either the farm or hatchery.


The FDA denied the petition during 2/2023 five years after submission of the request on the basis that the waiver of storage under refrigeration would “not maintain the same level of public health protection as its own egg safety rule”.   Five months later, the Food Safety and Inspection Service also denied the petition submitted by the National Chicken Council.  This action was based on jurisdictional complications by which the Egg Products Inspection Act requires the USDA to maintain a program that “assures consumers that egg products are safe, wholesome, not adulterated and properly labeled”.


There is no safety issue involved!  Eggs will be subject to pasteurization that would destroy any bacteria that either penetrated the shell or were present in the egg irrespective of the duration of storage before or during refrigeration.  The broiler industry is effectively disposing of approximately 25,000 tons of edible liquid annually. This is based on a four percent recoverable reject rate, the production of 165 million broiler chicks per week with 80 percent hatchability and assuming 50g egg contents.   The National Chicken Council estimates the value of the loss at $25 million annually but based on a value of $0 75 per lb. The loss is nearer to $38 million annually.


Given the move to sustainability and concern by the USDA over resources, the wooden -headed and scientifically unjustified action by both the FDA and the USDA is typical of the bureaucratic orientation of both Agencies and their inability to make rational decisions.


In the face of institutional intransigence, the broiler industry will be denied fair value for a product and a source of food is wasted. This situation with divided jurisdiction calls for a single food safety agency staffed by competent scientists and rational =administrators working for a common purpose.


Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane