From today, US egg products destined for the EU must come from premises operating with procedures based on international safety standards known as hazard analysis and critical control plan (HACCP) principles.
US processing establishments are not currently required to operate in accordance with HACCP principles but similar domestic regulations achieve the same end, according to the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
Under an agreement with the EU, the FSIS will now certify qualified exporters via a stamp that their premises meet the EU requirements on HACCP.
HACCP principles require processors to identify potential food safety risks and put in place procedures to adequately deal with problems when they occur. HACCP shifts the focus to preventative rather than reactive proceedures.
The new EU export certification requirement is one of measures announced by the Food FSIS to ensure US products comply with the bloc's standards and do not get stopped at the borders.
FSIS controls 9 CFR 590.500 through to 9 CFR 590.575 meet the same requirements contained in the EU regulations governing HACCP principles, the agency stated.
The new and existing requirements are required not only for exports to the EU, but products that are stored in the bloc as well as those passing through member countries.
Inspectors of shipments of egg products need to complete an accompanying certificate, which can be obtained from the FSIS. This confirms the products conform with the EU standard. The forms should be signed by an inspector.
The new forms replaces Form 9190-1, Public Health Certificate for Egg Products or Processed Egg Products.
The US exports about 22 million dozen eggs a year to the EU, according to the Economic Research Service for the Department of Agriculture statistics for 2005. Statistics on egg product exports were not readily available.