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Egg processor food safety requirements

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) contains standards to regulate food sold in Australia and New Zealand, including Chapter 4: Primary Production and Processing Standards.

The Standard aims to reduce the incidence of illness associated with eggs by requiring egg producers and processors to implement a Food Safety Management Statement. The Standard also prohibits the sale of cracked or dirty (unacceptable) eggs, and specifies traceability with egg stamping.

Why the need for the Standard

Salmonella is the main microorganism of concern with eggs and egg products and can occur at the time of, or soon after, the egg is laid. Despite the low frequency of Salmonella contaminated eggs in Australia, there is a potential risk of illness from consumption of raw or lightly-cooked eggs, or the consumption of uncooked foods containing raw egg.

Businesses required to comply

Standard 4.2.5 Primary Production & Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products sets out food safety requirements for the primary production and processing of eggs, egg pulp and other egg product(s) for human consumption.

Egg processors are businesses that do the following to eggs:

  • pulp
  • separate
  • grade
  • pack (including re-packing eggs)
  • wash
  • candle
  • assess for cracks
  • oil.

Egg processors exclude:

  • retail sale or wholesale of eggs
  • restaurants, cafes, canteens, takeways, caterers or any commercial kitchen that uses eggs.

Regulators

The Standard captures both primary production and food business activities.

Primary producers that undertake primary production (grow, harvest, catch) or a combination of primary production and food business activities will be regulated by Biosecurity SA (Primary Industry and Resources SA).

Food business activities covered by Standard 4.2.5 will be regulated by Local Government and SA Health under the Food Act 2001.

Businesses that are not covered by Standard 4.2.5 must comply with Standard 2.2.2 (Eggs) and Chapter 3 of the Code are inspected by Local Government.

Food Safety Management Statement

A Food Safety Management Statement is the systematic examination of your business’s processing operations. It allows you to identify potential hazards and implement control measures to address the hazards.

Your business's Food Safety Management Statement must be verified (audited) as per the assigned frequency, which will be between 6 to 18 months, based on the performance of the business.

If you are classified as an egg processor, or if you are unsure about being captured, please contact SA Health or your Local Council.

Frequently asked questions

How does my business comply with this Standard?

Egg processing businesses are responsible for:

  • initially contacting SA Health or your local council to confirm your egg processing activities
  • implementing a suitable Food Safety Management Statement
  • ensuring appropriate records are kept to demonstrate compliance;
  • contacting SA Health to arrange compliance audits.

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How will SA Health help my business comply?

SA Health has developed a Food Safety Management Statement template for food businesses that process eggs, but it must be modified to suit your business.

Additionally, SA Health will offer initial support to affected businesses on how to comply with the requirements and ensure the safety of their eggs.

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What will happen at an audit and how often will my business be audited?

Your auditor will assess your FSMS for adequacy at the first and subsequent audits. Businesses are responsible for any auditing costs that may be incurred.

The initial audit frequency will be 12 monthly. The outcomes of two audits will be required to establish a compliance history that can allow for the adjustment of audit frequency.

Your auditor may adjust frequency based on performance after this time in the range of 6 to 18 months. For example, where a business performs well, audits may be reduced to an 18 month frequency. However, if a business performs poorly, audits may be more frequent.

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What are the fees?

Audits: Contact SA Health's Food Safety and Nutrition Branch (Food Safety and Audit) for details.

Inspections: As per the individual Council.

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What happens if my business stops processing eggs?

Your business will revert to a Council inspection, which will inspect against sale or supply of cracked and/or dirty eggs and individually stamped eggs.

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I have on-site chickens and I use the eggs in my food business – am I affected?

If you are not selling the eggs, but using them as an ingredient, you must ensure that you do not introduce food poisoning bacteria into the kitchen.

Refer to On-site chickens food safety requirements page for egg handling and food safety requirements.

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Do all businesses with eggs have to have a Food Safety Management Statement?

No. The below business do not need to have a Food Safety Management Statement, however they must comply with Chapter 3 and Standard 2.2.2 - Eggs.

If your business is sorting or repacking eggs, then you will be classified as a processor and must implement a Food Safety Management Statement.

Retail or wholesale businesses

A business that sells eggs, retail or wholesale, must ensure that the eggs are not cracked or dirty, and that the eggs are stamped.

Food service

Restaurants, cafés, canteens, takeaways, caterers or any commercial kitchen that uses eggs, must ensure they do not use cracked or dirty eggs. All eggs sold in South Australia must be stamped, and this will be checked during Local Government inspections.

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What are the requirements of Standard 2.2.2 - Eggs?

Standard 2.2.2 prohibits the sale or supply of unacceptable eggs for catering and retail sale purposes and requires that eggs for retail sale or catering purposes must be marked with the producers’ or processors’ unique identification. 

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What businesses do Biosecurity SA (PIRSA) look after?

The following businesses are regulated by Biosecurity SA (PIRSA) under the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) Act 2004:

  • egg producers
  • egg producers who process eggs.

Refer to the Biosecurity website for further information.

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Definitions

Cracked egg

An egg which has a cracked shell which is visible, or visible by candling or other equivalent methods, and includes a broken egg.

Dirty egg

An egg that has visible faeces, soil or other matter on it.

Egg

An egg from any avian (bird) species, except ratites.

Egg processors

Businesses that:

  • pulp, separate, grade, pack (including re-packing eggs), wash, candle, assess for cracks, or oil the eggs
  • process egg products, for example pasteurise

But excludes:

  • retail sale or wholesale of eggs
  • restaurants, cafés, canteens, takeaways, caterers or any commercial kitchen that uses eggs.

Egg producer

A business, enterprise or activity that involves the production of eggs, whether or not the business grades, packs, washes, candles or assesses for cracks, oils, pulps for supply to the processor for pasteurisation or stores or transports eggs or egg pulp.

Egg pulp

Contents of an egg, which may contain sugar or salt.

Processing egg product

  • pasteurising
  • heating using any other time and temperature combination of equivalent or greater lethal effect on any pathogenic micro-organisms in the egg product
  • using any other process that provides an equivalent or greater lethal effect on any pathogenic micro-organisms in the egg product.

Traceability

An egg processor must not sell eggs unless each individual egg is marked with the processor’s or producer’s unique identification.

Unacceptable egg

Is:

  • a cracked egg or a dirty egg
  • egg product which has not been processed as per the requirements of Standard 4.2.5
  • egg product which contains a pathogenic micro-organism, whether or not the egg product has been processed as specified by the Standard.

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