The Secretariat of the Interior (Segob, in Spanish) of Mexico announced modifications were made to the sanitary norms and regulations related to eggs and their products to allow producers, importers and marketers of table eggs to wash them before they reach the consumer.

The changes, which become effective on August 20, allow producers to wash table eggs as long as the washing and drying operations are carried out “immediately after harvesting.” Once dried, the egg “must be coated with a suitable edible oil (food-grade oil) or with an allowed coating agent.”

Also, whether coated or not, the egg must “be handled under refrigeration conditions until it is sold,” and it has to include in the packaging a message that states: “Keep refrigerated.”

These modifications were published in the Mexican Federal Registrar (DOF) of August 15, and they change the “Official Mexican Standard NOM-159-SSA1-2016.” 

Table egg producers must comply with the washing specifications already included in the NOM-159-SSA1-2018, issued in 2018. These specifications include:

  • Wash the eggs “immediately before” they are be used as raw material and do the washing with potable water and specialized detergent for these cases. There must be no detergent residues on the eggs. 
  • Washing should be “by mechanical means only” and with “procedures that prevent microbial penetration into the egg.”
  • Water during washing should be maintained at a minimum of 32°C (89.6°F), up to a maximum of 45°C (113°F). Water should be changed “in its entirety every four hours at the most.”
  • The egg should not be submerged under water or stopped during the washing process, and it should be treated with a food grade sanitizing agent.

U.S. organization celebrates the changes 

The American Egg Board welcomed the modifications, stating that it is “good news to U.S. egg producers about the Mexican market.” 

“The regulation allows table eggs to be — eliminating a previous potential trade barrier for U.S. table eggs exported into Mexico,” the organization said in a statement. “The regulation states that washing and drying must occur immediately after egg collection. Once the eggs are dry, they can be covered with food-grade oil or coating agent and must be refrigerated until the point of sale.  As U.S. eggs are refrigerated from origin they must remain so throughout the process.”

Mexico: largest consumer of eggs in the world 

With a consumption of 367 units per capita or 22.9 kilos per person per year, Mexico is the largest consumer of eggs in the world. According to the president of the Mexican National Poultry Producers Association (UNA), César Quesada, the national production can supply the internal demand.

Mexico is also the largest producer of eggs in Latin America with 2.81 million tons produced in 2018, according to UNA figures. Worldwide, it is the fourth producer of eggs, behind China, the United States and India. Eggs in Mexico are mainly consumed fresh.