| Agriculture & Health
Departments Sign Agreement with Poultry Industry
producers go the "eggstra
State-monitored standards to help reduce food-borne illnesses
Diana Savage Intelligencer Journal Staff
poultry producers have spent years researching ways to create
keep bacteria out of what they say is the perfect food. They
sanitize chicken houses, don protective coverings and find
ways to keep flies and rodents from sneaking into the buildings
and contaminating eggs.
they’ve come up with superior quality and
safety standards, they’re ready to advertise the result
of their hard work to the public.
The State Secretaries of Agriculture and Health, along with
the chairman of the state Poultry Federation, signed an agreement
Friday morning in Lititz touting the control procedures and testing
protocols to maintain these standards of reducing foodborne illnesses.
eggs produced under this new quality assurance program can
now bear a seal: "Tested quality.
Produced under the highest standards for food safety. Monitored
by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture."
"This is a momentous occasion for agriculture," said
John Schwartz, county cooperative extension director. "I
believe we’ve got a model that’s going to be used
across the nation."
of Pennsylvania’s egg production
is $265 million, ranking it third in the nation. The state
provides fresh eggs for much of the East Ccoast as well as
pasteurized eggs to an international market.
"As we rank third, it’s certainly exciting that we’re
the ones providing leadership and setting the pace for the rest
of the country," said state Agriculture Secretary Charles
C. Brosius. "This is a proud day for producers and an important
day for consumers."
85 percent of the state’s poultry
producers are already enrolled in the voluntary program, which
works to reduce the risk of illness caused by Salmonella enteritidis
developed from a pilot project sponsored by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture to determine management practices likely to
reduce or prevent contamination of eggs by Se. The project
resulted in a significant reduction of Se in flocks, and is
now a partnership between the state’s
poultry producers and the state Departments of Agriculture
What makes the program unique is its partnership between private
industry and governmental agencies.
"This is a wonderful example of two departments and private
industry working together in an effort that reaches mutually
defined goals," said state Acting Secretary of Health Daniel
Poultry producers not yet involved in the voluntary program
can apply by contacting the state poultry federation. To stay
enrolled and certified, producers must comply with certain management
practices and have their flocks tested.
The state Department of Agriculture will monitor the poultry
industry to ensure the testing complies with the agreement.
Officials hope the local success of their program will spread
and that other states will adopt their standards and that other
industries will join with the Poultry producers who follow sanitary
procedures sanctioned by the state Agriculture and Health departments
will be allowed to use the above logo on their products.
"I really see the food processing industry and restaurants
tying into it," said Schwartz.