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Food safety begins at the farm. Canada’s egg industry enjoys a reputation for producing a choice of nutritious, wholesome, and safe eggs and egg products for Canadian families.
Canadian egg farmers follow important protocols and standards to ensure their eggs are produced according to some of the highest standards in the world. They take part in programs that have successfully made diseases, such as Salmonella Enteritidis, a very rare occurrence on Canadian egg farms. Field staff also regularly test barns throughout the year to ensure that the hens’ environment and feed are free from salmonella contamination.
When food poisoning does occur, it is often caused by poor food handling practices. Consumers can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses by taking special care when storing and preparing eggs.
The Start Clean – Stay Clean™ (SC-SC) program is based on the latest research, developed by leading experts, and is assessed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The program ensures egg farmers monitor critical control points, follow best management practices, and keep extensive records related to barn temperate, air quality, cleanliness, egg collection, egg storage, and Salmonella Enteritidis testing. Under the Start Clean-Stay Clean program, regulated egg farms are inspected by provincial and national field inspectors. Reports are provided to farm owners and the appropriate provincial egg boards. In the event problems are found, inspectors follow up to ensure they are corrected.
SC-SC is based on the seven basic Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, an internationally accepted method for determining risks within a production or processing facility and adopting ways to reduce those risks.
7 HACCP Principles:
Establish critical control points
Establish critical limits
Monitor the critical limits
Validation and verification
Biosecurity is a major focus of the Start Clean-Stay Clean. The program ensures that egg farmers maintain strict biosecurity in their barns. Clothes and footwear must be changed and the bottoms of shoes or boots disinfected prior to entering the barns. Controls must be in place to prevent access to rodents, flies and wild birds as they can carry disease. Dust and manure samples are taken from the barn by inspectors and sent to labs where they are tested for Salmonella enteritidis. If this form of salmonella is found, eggs from that barn are immediately sent to breaking plants as a precautionary measure. Breaking plants break the eggs and pasteurize the contents to kill any salmonella enteritidis which could be present.