The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Egg Regulatory Officials have launched a new program for state egg and egg product regulators entitled the Egg Regulatory Program Standards. The standards are designed to integrate the regulatory activities of partner agencies into an efficient and effective process for improving egg and egg product safety in the United States.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act called for enhanced partnerships of government agencies and provides a legal mandate for developing an Integrated Food Safety System. A key principle of an IFSS is the uniform application of model program standards so that regulatory agencies conduct inspections under the same set of standards. As the United States moves toward integrating food safety resources, uniform standards across egg and egg product regulatory programs are critical.
The program standards are for egg and egg product regulatory programs, not for manufacturers or growers of eggs. The ERPS are comprised of 10 individual standards: regulatory foundation, training program, inspection program, inspection audit program, egg-related illness, outbreak and emergency response, compliance and enforcement program, outreach activities, program resources, program assessment and laboratory support. The 10 standards, designed to strengthen the safety and integrity of the U.S. egg and egg product supply, are also the core elements of a state's regulatory program.
The ERPS will provide a framework that every state can use to determine the strengths and challenges of their program. The ERPS also provide the foundation for mutual reliance on inspections and other work conducted by federal and state agencies.
Additional information on the ERPS is available on the FDA's Egg Regulatory Program Standards.