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Food Safety


  • Purchase chicks from U.S. Sanitation Monitored Salmonella enteritidis negative breeder flocks.
  • Obtain samples of chick dropping papers at time of delivery. Sample every 10th chick paper and submit to laboratory for Salmonella enteritidis (SE)
  • Sample and culture the manure at 10 to 15 weeks of age. A culture will consist of two samples taken from the manure beneath each row of cages.
  • Maintain a defined rodent control and monitoring program.
  • Houses with positive manure or chick samples must be cleaned and disinfected before new chicks can be placed


  • Purchase and place pullets from an SE monitored flock. Pullets from an unknown or SE monitored flock. Pullets from an unknown or SE positive status house or flock will require that the manure be sampled and cultured 7 to 14 days after placement.
  • Sample and culture manure at 29 to 31 weeks of age and again at 44 to 46 weeks of age. A culture of the manure during any test will consist of two samples taken from the manure beneath each row of cages.
  • In molted flocks test manure at five to seven weeks following return to feed and follow egg testing procedures if positive.
  • Houses with positive manure samples must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between flocks.


  • Houses with negative manure samples will not be required to test eggs.
  • Houses with positive manure samples must test 480 nest run eggs or a combination of all available blood spot eggs plus additional nest run eggs to total 480 eggs every 2 weeks for 4 lots of samples. These eggs will be cultured in pools of 20. If the 4 lots of eggs are negative, a sample of 480 eggs (nest run and blood spot) must be sampled each month for the life of the flock.
  • If any egg pools are positive, then all eggs must be diverted for pasteurization or hard cooking. To be able to resume sale of eggs as table eggs, 1,000 eggs must be tested in pools of 20 every 2 weeks for 4 lots of samples and test negative. Alternatively, if less than 50% of the environmentals and no more than one egg pool were positive, 4,000 eggs may be tested at one time. Following return to the table egg market, 480 eggs (nest run and blood spot) must be sampled each month for the life of the flock.
  • Egg testing will eliminate the need for further environmental testing.
  • As additional experience is gained, environmental and egg testing requirements may be modified.


  • Test manure at five to seven weeks following return to feed and follow egg testing procedures if positive.


  • A defined rodent control, and record monitoring program must be maintained at all times.


  • All participants must maintain an acceptable biosecurity program.


  • Eggs must be kept under refrigeration as specified in the Pennsylvania law.

Processing Plant

  • Processing plants packing eggs bearing the PEQAP “Tested Quality” Seal must meet all applicable USDA, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and PEQAP program requirements. These address plant an employee sanitation, refrigeration, egg washing and sanitation, water testing, packing materials, carton coding and records.

Participating producers and processors are:

  • Demonstrating their concern about food safety.
  • Producing a quality egg which helps to assure consumer confidence in eggs
  • Addressing the demands of buyers for eggs produced in a food safety program
  • Reducing potential foodborne illness liability claims.
  • May have insurance premiums reduced

What Regulatory Officials Say

In a 15 member Review Team Report by the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA dated January 18, 1997 it was stated: “PEQAP can serve as a prototype for the egg industry in the development of egg quality assurance programs and the industry should adopt quality assurance programs based on interventions developed in the Pennsylvania Pilot Project and used in the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (PEQAP).

Statement of Purpose

The Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (PEQAP) is a voluntary industry program intended to minimize Salmonella enteritidis (SE) contamination of chicken (shell) eggs. Although this program does not guarantee shell eggs to be free of SE contamination, the program does assure commitment of the producer and processor to implementation of those management and monitoring practices most likely to prevent SE contamination. Basic preventive measures include placement of SE clean chicks, intensive rodent control, cleaning and disinfecting between flocks, and environmental monitoring of pullet and layer houses with continuous testing of eggs from any environmentally positive houses. Positive eggs are diverted for pasteurization. Eggs must be kept refrigerated. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provides oversight, technical, administrative, and financial support to this program. The Pennsylvania Department of Health provides technical advice regarding public health implications. PEQAP participants are assuring the public that they are taking every reasonable precaution to assure the safety of shell eggs.


Our family egg farmers support practices that assure egg safety and reduce illness due to Salmonella Enteritidis.  Food safety and consumer health and well-being are paramount for the egg industry, and Sauder’s Egg farmers are dedicated to producing safe, nutritious and affordable food.  Sauder’s Egg farmers will work closely with the FDA to ensure that the regulations announced this week are being met.

Egg farmers that produce eggs for Sauder’s have followed many of the practices required by the new regulation for many years and provided suggestions for the new regulations.  In fact, we have employed these and similar practices for almost twodecades.  Over that time, outbreaks of Salmonellosis in humans attributed to eggs have steadily decreased as have findings of Salmonella Enteritidis in the thousands of samples taken at our egg farms and from eggs, demonstrating the effectiveness of these food safety procedures.

While Salmonella illness is rarely caused by an egg, it is important to note that consumers are urged to use proper food safety practices.  Important food safety reminders include:

  • Thoroughly clean your hands, as well as the surfaces and utensils that come in contact with raw eggs – an important step for avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Cook eggs until the white and yolks are firm or, for dishes containing eggs, until you reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit – steps which destroy any microorganisms of concern.
  • To help maintain egg safety and freshness, store raw eggs in the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is not advisable to store eggs in the refrigerator door since it subjects them to variable temperature and possible breakage.
  • Eggs left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the weather is warm) should be discarded.



Testing or Procedure R.W. Sauder FDA
From NPIP SE Clean breeders
From NPIP SE Clean breeders
Pullet testing
10 to 12 weeks
14 to 16 weeks

Requirements for SE

+ pullet manure

Manure tests of layers

after housing

Egg testing of 4 sets of 1000 eggs at 2 week intervals
Layer testing

30w,45w, and at 50%

after molt

40w and 4-6 weeks after molt completion
Requirements for SE + layer manure

1000 egg at 2 week intervals,

4 submissions

1000 egg at 2 week intervals, 4 submissions
Diversion to pasteurization required for egg + flocks

Return to shell

market allowed

Yes after a completed set of 4 submissions of 1000 eggs at 2 week intervals
Yes after a completed set of 4 submissions of 1000 eggs at 2 week intervals
Egg testing after initial egg test set
1000 eggs every quarter
None if negative first set; once a month if were previously egg positive
C & D of manure or egg + houses
Wet or dry cleaning
Wet or dry cleaning
Vaccination required
Only if using dry cleaning option
Biosecurity plan
Not Required
Rodent Control Plan and Records
Fly Control Plan and Records
Not Required
Egg cooling
45° F. after processing, 55° F. prior to processing

45° F. after 36 hours post