Egg Farmers of Canada operates an on-farm food safety programme based on HACCP principles. HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is an internationally accepted method for determining risks within a production or processing facility and adopting ways to reduce those risks. Our on-farm program, known as Start Clean-Stay CleanTM has been technically reviewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and in 2011, after CFIA determines its requirements for third-party auditing, we expect the program to be officially recognized by the Agency.
Under the program, all regulated egg farms in Canada are inspected by trained officers employed by Egg Farmers of Canada. Reports are provided to farm owners and the appropriate provincial egg boards. In the event problems are found, follow up inspections occur to ensure they are corrected. Since the first on-farm food safety programme was instituted back in 1990, farms have adopted continuous improvements in ensuring eggs are kept clean.
A major focus of Start Clean-Stay CleanTM from its earliest years has been biosecurity. Biosecurity refers to the practice of developing a restricted area, to control the potential entry of food-borne pathogens. Clothes and footwear are changed and the bottoms of shoes or boots are disinfected prior to entering the restricted area. The hens and eggs are protected from rodents, flies and wild birds which can carry poultry disease or food-borne pathogens.
In addition, all regulated egg barns are tested for Salmonella enteritidis, a type of salmonella bacteria which is known to be found inside the egg, though this is rare. Dust and manure samples are taken from the barn and sent to labs where they are tested for Salmonella enteritidis. If this salmonella is found in the samples, eggs from that barn are sent to breaking plants as a precautionary measure. These plants break the eggs and pasteurize the contents of the eggs to kill any bacteria which could potentially be present.
Most recently, Egg Farmers of Canada also developed an on-farm food safety programme for the pullet sector. This sector raises the young birds, before they mature and lay eggs. The Start Clean-Stay CleanTM: Pullet programme has completed technical review by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.