CAFPA FALL MEETING ON SALMONELLA ENTERIDITIS IN EGGS
On October 28th, 2010, the Capital Area Food Protection Association (CAFPA) along with the DC Chapter of the Institute of Food Technologists (DC IFT) held its fall meeting at the Grocery Manufacturers Association in Washington, DC. The 2010 Salmonella Enteriditis (SE) outbreak related to shell eggs was discussed.
Tracy Duvernoy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presented FDA’s response to this outbreak, which started late July of 2010. Duvernoy estimates that 1800 illness cases due to SE are likely, making this the largest SE outbreak reported since the early 1970s. No deaths associated with this outbreak have been reported. Wright Country Egg was identified as the supplier for 58% of the restaurant clusters (15 out of 26 restaurant clusters). Hillandale Farms was also linked to the outbreak as an egg supplier. The first steps taken by FDA after the correlation was made were to divert eggs to breaker facilities for pasteurization and recall the product in commerce. Environmental inspections were carried out at the farms and at the feed mill to determine compliance with the Egg Safety Rule (21 CFR 118). Positive SE samples were found in environmental samples on the farms, in wash water, and at the feed mill. FDA delivered Forms 483 to both Hillandale Farms and Wright County Egg for objectionable conditions seen during inspections and for the failure to implement a SE prevention plan. Long term action on FDA’s part includes continued monitoring and inspection for compliance to the Egg Safety Rule. Currently, Hillandale Farms is approved to resume distribution of shell eggs at their West Union location after taking corrective actions and passing a re-inspection. Wright County Egg is continuing to divert eggs for pasteurization as they work on corrective actions. Since this meeting FDA recently began allowing Wright County Egg to sell shell eggs again after a satisfactory review of corrective actions. Compliance to the Egg Safety Rule, which became effective on July 9th, 2010, is required for companies with over 50,000 hens. The Rule calls for monitoring of chicks for SE, a pest control program, performing routine environmental sampling, refrigeration of eggs, and implementing a SE prevention plan.
Dr. Sherrill Davison from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine presented on their role in the development of a prevention and control program for SE in shell eggs. Many sources of SE were identified, including breeders, pullets, feed, the environment, and pests. Recommendations for prevention and control in the program include education, testing, good record keeping, and pest control. Chick box papers should be tested for SE. Davidson noted that swabbing gauze soaked in skim milk was successful in picking up SE from the chick box papers. Feed can be heat treated and pelleted to reduce risk. Eggs can be washed in 105-110ºF water with a pH of 10+. She also recommended holding eggs at 55ºF on the farm and during packaging, then at 45ºF at retail. Salmonella Enteriditis bacterin (e.g. attenuated SE bacteria) vaccines are available for hens and have been shown to be effective in reducing SE contaminated eggs.
Howard Magwire of the United Egg Producers gave an industry perspective on the outbreak. Industry supports strong regulation of eggs and wants the industry to voluntarily go above and beyond the requirements of the Egg Safety Rule. The plan he recommends for the egg industry captures many of the prevention and control measures discussed previously. Documentation and record keeping of a SE prevention plan is critical. The plan should incorporate biosecurity of farms and processing areas, environmental and egg testing, sanitary processing procedures, an egg quality assurance program, chick and pullet rearing practices, refrigeration of eggs, and pest control. He believes that pest control should be at the heart of the plan. The industry responded to this outbreak by working with the media to answer questions and provide information. Relationships between egg producers and government staff were strengthened. Lessons learned by industry include the need for increased traceability, stepped up biosecurity programs, limiting exposure, and education programs for not only consumers but producers.
Prepared by Emily Mathusa, Grocery Manufacturers Association