Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Legislation for egg stamping and food safety issues are a washout

The new regulations for egg farmers look like they are a dismal failure as they were intended to help protect consumers and provide traceability of all eggs back to the farm on which they were produced. The industry broadly supported the proposal drawn by by FSANZ (Food Safety Australia and New Zealand, but the legislation was writen separately in each state. Here in Victoria, some people who sell eggs have not bothered to register with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and they are not stamping the eggs they produce with a farm identification number. They claim there is a loophole in the regulations which came into effect in November. They say that as they have 50 chooks or less, they don't need to register and are not required to stamp their eggs or comply with food safety standards.
It's just another example of bureaucratic stupidity. In the interests of the health of the community and traceability, the new regulations should apply to everyone who sells eggs. They should either apply to all egg producers, or none of us. It is simply not fair on those in the industry who meet the costs of complying with regulations when some sellers at markets or retail stores are allowed to flout them. It's not a small thing. While individual backyarders might only sell 20 dozen or so each week,  Throughout Australia, at least 100,000 dozen eggs each year are produced in  backyard operations and sold to unsuspecting consumers at markets or retail outlets. These producers have no understanding of the need for temperature control or other food safety requirements. Often they use secondhand cartons and do not meet labelling standards.

Another issue with egg stamping is that the legislation does not ensure that eggs are stamped on-farm. The stamping can be carried on a grading floor - which means that almost any stamp can be put on the eggs if they are sent to a grading floor for packing. This make a mockery of traceability claims.


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freeranger said...

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