Sorry, the old Beatle’s song keeps running through my head.  And, with 380,000,000 eggs being recalled, and well over 1,000 people sick (and rising), I really should not be making jokes.

Not surprisingly I usually start my morning reading Phil Brasher in the Des Moines Register. I was struck by his article this morning, “New rules could have prevented salmonella outbreak,” and this quote:

“There are preventive measures that would have been in place that could have prevented this, if it (the new regulatory program) had been in place earlier than in July,” said Sherri McGarry of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

fda-logo(1).jpgI then picked up my well-read “Egg Rule” also known as “Federal Register Final Rule (July 9, 2009, 74 FR 33030): Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation,” for what exactly the rule now requires. Here are the highlights:

• Buy chicks and young hens only from suppliers who monitor for Salmonella bacteria

• Establish rodent, pest control, and biosecurity measures to prevent spread of bacteria throughout the farm by people and equipment

• Conduct testing in the poultry house for Salmonella Enteritidis. If the tests find the bacterium, a representative sample of the eggs must be tested over an eight-week time period (four tests at two-week intervals); if any of the four egg tests is positive, the producer must further process the eggs to destroy the bacteria, or divert the eggs to a non-food use

• Clean and disinfect poultry houses that have tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis

• Refrigerate eggs at 45 degrees F during storage and transportation no later than 36 hours after the eggs are laid (this requirement also applies to egg producers whose eggs receive a treatment, such as pasteurization).

• Environmenal Testing for SE.  There are specific requirements on when and how to test for SE and coordination with pullet testing.

• Egg Testing for SE.  Whenever you have reason to know/suspect of presence of SE. Two week intervals in positive poultry houses.

OK, I know the Egg Rule did not go into final until July 2010, but really, can anyone argue that the highlights above should not have been voluntarily implemented before that?  “I am the Egg [Rule}…”