National Egg PPP Standard
Tasmania, in line with all Australian States and Territories, is required to comply with Standard 4.2.5 Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products (Egg PPP Standard) published in the Food Standards Code by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) - the national Government agency that that develops and administers food standards in Australia.
The Egg PPP Standard was developed in response to the level of egg-related illnesses occurring in Australia each year - estimated at more than 12,000 cases and costing $44 million.
The Egg PPP Standard commenced in November 2012 and is designed to reduce egg related incidents in Australia by:
- legally requiring commercial egg producers and processors to identify and control hazards, such as ensuring feed is not contaminated;
- requiring producers and processors to operate according to a food safety management statement (food safety program) which has been approved by the relevant authority and subjected to ongoing verification activities (accreditation and audits);
- prohibiting the sale of cracked and dirty eggs unless sold to a processor for pasteurisation; and
- requiring individual eggs to be stamped with the producer's unique identification so the source of any food safety or biosecurity incident in Australia involving eggs can be quickly traced.
Each State is responsible for preparing its specific regulations to enable compliance with the Egg PPP Standard.
Tasmania has now introduced the Primary Produce Safety (Egg) Regulations 2014 which are made under the Primary Produce Safety Act 2011 and establish the Egg Food Safety Scheme.
The Egg Food Safety Scheme was developed in consultation with a range of egg producers as well as feedback received from a broader public consultation process.
Key Features of Tasmania's Egg Food Safety Scheme
- The new Egg Food Safety Scheme achieves an appropriate balance between providing for food safety, including responses to egg-related foodborne illness, whilst also supporting smaller egg producers and hobbyists.
- A key objective of the Scheme is to have full enhanced traceability in case of an egg-borne food safety or biosecurity incident.
- Egg producers who do not come under Category 1 or 2 (below) are exempt, i.e. non-commercial, "backyard" egg producers, who produce eggs on their property primarily for their own consumption, will be fully exempt from the Scheme requirements.
- The Scheme replaces the Egg Industry Act 2002.
Summary of requirements under the Egg Food Safety Scheme
The Egg Food Safety Scheme introduces a mandatory accreditation requirement for commercial egg producers based on the volume of eggs produced.
This production threshold is 20 dozen eggs in any week (and is the equivalent of keeping approximately 50 egg laying birds).
Egg producers above the threshold will require full accreditation and must have an approved food safety program that is independently audited at least once every 12 months. Accredited producers will also be required (as a condition of accreditation) to stamp eggs with their unique identifier in accordance with the Food Standards Code traceability provisions.
Commercial egg producers who are under the production threshold (producing less than 20 dozen eggs per week) will not be required to hold an accreditation or pay for annual food safety audits. However such producers will be required to register with Biosecurity Tasmania and also comply with the Egg PPP Standard, including stamping their eggs with a unique identification mark. This does not involve any annual statutory fee.
Biosecurity Tasmania will provide a hand stamping device to producers in this category free of charge once they register, so that they can easily comply with the traceability requirements of the national Egg PPP Standard.
The following table
sets out the requirements of the new Egg Food Safety Scheme for commercial egg producers.
HOW EGGS USED
Unaccredited (Small) Commercial Egg Producer
Fewer than 20 dozen eggs produced in any week
Eggs sold at cafes, markets, shops or supplied to food service establishments
All eggs sold must be individually marked with the producer's unique identifying mark or code. This can be done with a hand stamper provided to egg producers in this category on registration of their details with Biosecurity Tasmania.
Full accreditation is not required; and no annual fees apply. However producers in this category must notify Biosecurity Tasmania and otherwise comply with the requirements of the Food Standards Code in respect to eggs for intended sale.
Accredited Commercial Egg Producer
20 dozen or more eggs produced in any week
Mainly for commercial purposes
All eggs sold must be individually marked with the producer's unique identifying mark or code. Producers in this category require full accreditation and an approved and audited food safety program (this requirement was already in place for producers in this category under the repealed Egg Industry Act 2002).
The unique stamp used by Category 2 accredited producers can be the producer's own compliant stamp or brand and will be distinguishable from stamps issued to and used by Category 1 Unaccredited (small) commercial producers.
Note that food retail businesses, such as supermarkets, shops (including farmer's markets and the CWA shop), cafes and restaurants, that do not actually produce eggs, are not regulated under Egg Food Safety Scheme.
Food retail businesses are regulated by local government under the Food Act 2003. However the Food Act also requires retail businesses to only sell (or use in catering) eggs that comply with the national Food Standards Code requirements for traceability and safety.
Food retail proprietors (including shopkeepers and food market coordinators) seeking information on their obligations under the Food Act should contact their local council.
Transition and commencement
The Egg Food Safety Scheme was finalised by the Government on 22 December 2014 and commenced operation on 01 February 2015.
All egg producers who were approved under the Egg Industry Act 2002 were deemed to automatically hold an accreditation under the new Scheme from this date.
Primary Produce Safety Act 2011
Policy Development (Food Safety)
For further practical information on keeping chickens and egg production - Hobby Farmers and Smallholders.