FDA proposes accreditation requirements for egg testing

In an unexpectedly early revision to the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has proposed a new accreditation requirements for testing eggs and other food products.

(Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, Bigstock)
(Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, Bigstock)

In an unexpectedly early revision to the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has proposed a new accreditation requirements for testing eggs and other food products.

The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on Nov. 4, adds accreditation requirements for the testing of a myriad of food products, including eggs. It would require egg producers to submit eggs for salmonella testing at government accredited laboratories in the event the producer had reason to suspect the eggs could present a health risk per existing testing requirements. The rule also requires laboratories to report the results of tests for Salmonella directly to the FDA.

Although FSMA directs the FDA to establish food testing accreditation requirements, experts watching didn’t expect to see a new rule on the matter this soon, according to Oscar Garrison, senior VP of food safety regulatory affairs for United Egg Producers. Garrison said he was also surprised to see shell eggs called out specifically for new accreditation and reporting requirements.

“They are classifying that egg test as being a test that is done to address a suspected food safety problem,” Garrison said. “Because that is in the rule, I think that’s the reason we’re lumped into this regulation.”

It’s not clear just yet how the rule will impact the industry, Garrison said. Producers have been required to test for Salmonella in eggs since 2010; the new regulation would simply specify where the testing must take place, and who must be notified of the results. The extent of the rule’s financial burden, Garrison said, will depend on how many of these tests already take place at accredited laboratories.

“There are accredited labs out there, that’s not an issue,” he said. “But it could cause a user to not be able to use a lab they have traditionally utilized for their testing, which could cause some logistical issues.”

Garrison said United Egg Producers was currently in the process of evaluating how many accredited laboratories are available to egg producers. He said they would submit their comments on the draft rule to the FDA after their survey is complete.

The proposed rule is subject to a public comment period that runs through March 3, 2020. Comments may be submitted online via www.regulations.gov, or mailed to:

Dockets Management Staff
HFA-305
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Comments should reference docket number FDA–2019–N–3325.

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