Primary production and processing standard for eggs poultry and sprouts

Version 2 June 2017

Purpose

To provide guidance to food businesses and local government enforcement agencies on recently introduced Primary Production and Processing standards of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) (external site) for eggs, poultry and seed sprouts.  

Background

Food Standards Australia New Zealand was tasked with developing the Primary Production and Processing standards for poultry meat, eggs and seed sprouts. Compliance with the standards are intended to reduce contamination levels of pathogenic Campylobacter and Salmonella in poultry products, Salmonella on and in eggs and various other pathogens known to be associated with seed sprouts.

In addition to reducing microbial pathogens, the standards are also designed to strengthen the traceability chain through the implementation of a documented Food Safety Management Statement (FSMS).

These standards have been developed with consideration to the following objectives;

  • to provide a regulatory approach which is consistent nationally,
  • to reduce the regulatory burden on industry,
  • to provide safe food controls for the purpose of protecting public health and safety, and
  • to strengthen food safety and traceability throughout the food supply chain.

Scope

This guidance document applies to the following standards and is relevant to all food businesses operating in all states and territories within Australia;

  • Standard 4.2.2 - Primary Production and Processing Standard for Poultry Meat, applicable to chicken, turkey, duck, squab, geese, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, mutton birds and other avian species except ratites. 
  • Standard 4.2.5 - Primary Production and Processing Standard for Egg and Egg Products, applicable to:
    • eggs - means an egg from any avian (bird) species, except ratites.
    • egg products – means the contents of an egg in any form including egg pulp, dried egg, liquid egg white and liquid egg yolk. 
  • Standard 4.2.6 - Production and Processing Standard for Seed Sprouts, applicable to sprouted seeds or sprouted beans for human consumption that include all or part of the seed in the final product.

In accordance with the Food Act 2008 (Food Act), and the Food Regulations 2009 (Food Regulations), local government is the appropriate enforcement agency for food businesses to which a standard in Chapter 4 of the Code applies, for further details see registration.

The Australian Egg Corporation Limited has produced a document on egg marking which describes different methods and associated costs, and provides a list of suppliers of egg marking equipment.  It is worth noting that in addition to the unique identifier, the labelling standards of the Code still apply, which serves to further strengthen the traceability chain.

Further information on egg marking equipment can be found under resources at the end of this fact sheet.

Overview of relevant Food Standards

It is important that all food businesses are familiar with the requirements of the Code. As a guide, the following tables outline the key requirements for the primary production and processing for activities for eggs, poultry meat and seed sprouts. 

Eggs and egg products

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 10

Traceability – unique identifier producers

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 20

Traceability – unique identifier processors

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 11

Sale or supply – unacceptable dirty or cracked eggs

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 14

Receiving unacceptable eggs – dirty or cracked eggs

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 3

General FSMS – producer/s

Standard 4.2.5 - clause 13

General FSMS – processor/s

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 4

Requirement for food business to have a FSMS

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 5

What is a FSMS?

Standard 2.2.2

Eggs – product standard

Chapter 1 of the Code

General food standards

Standard 1.6.1

Microbiological Limits in Food

Poultry

Standard 4.2.2

PPP Standard for Poultry Meat

Standard 4.2.3

PPP Standard for Meat (RTE poultry meat only)

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 4

Requirement for food business to have a FSMS

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 5

What is a FSMS?

Standard 3.2.2

Food Safety Practices and General Requirements (processing)

Standard 3.2.3

Food Premises and Equipment (processing)

Standard 2.2.1

Meat and Meat products – definitions

Chapter 1 of the Code

General food standards

*The Department of Health as the controlling authority audits poultry meat businesses against the Australian Standard for Construction of Premises and Hygienic Production of Poultry Meat for Human Consumption, AS4465:2005, however, the scope of this factsheet does not include guidance for this standard.

Seed sprouts

Standard 4.2.6

Production and Processing Standard for Seed Sprouts

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 4

Requirement for food business to have a FSMS

Standard 4.1.1 - clause 5

What is a FSMS?

Standard 3.2.2

Food Safety Practices and General Requirements (processing)

Standard 3.2.3

Food Premises and Equipment (processing)

Chapter 1 of the Code

General food standards

Standard 1.6.1

Microbiological Limits in Food

Registration

As food businesses (see regulation 6 of the Food Regulations), primary producers and processors to which Chapter 4 of the Code applies, must apply for registration with the appropriate enforcement agency. It is an offence to conduct an unregistered food business in accordance with Section 109 of the Food Act.

Compliance

What is a Food Safety Management Statement (FSMS)?

The Code defines a FSMS as a statement which –

(a)  has been approved or recognised by the authority; and

(b)  is subject to ongoing verification activities by the business or person; and

(c)  if required by the authority, is also subject to ongoing verification activities by the relevant authority; and

(d)  sets out how the obligations imposed by this Chapter of the Code are to be, or are being, complied with.

A FSMS is a documented system which follows similar methodology to a Food Safety Program. In accordance with the Code, the FSMS must be approved or recognised by the relevant authority, being the local government enforcement agency.

Recognition of a FSMS

To ensure a consistent approach to the management of documented food safety systems in WA, enforcement agencies will have the responsibility for recognising the FSMS for food businesses in their respective localities. The same quality assurance principles used for verifying a food safety program can be applied to the recognition process of a FSMS. This includes systematic examination of production activities, identifying potential hazards and implementing control measures.

The food business is responsible for the development of a FSMS which considers the full scope of operations, and providing the FSMS to the enforcement agency for recognition

The enforcement agency should be satisfied the FSMS provided will enable the food business to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the relevant standard/s. During the recognition process, it is important to note the extent and range of hazards identified and the associated control measures used can vary across food businesses, even if the same products are being produced.

Verifying compliance

Compliance is verified by the enforcement agency and the food business. This can be achieved by assessing the FSMS and the food premises against the Code and the Food Act.

The frequency of such assessments will be determined by the risk classification assigned by the enforcement agency to the food business. 

An implementation package developed by the Implementation Sub-committee for Food Regulation includes documents designed to promote the consistent application of the standard/s. Despite the implementation package not specifically including seeds sprouts, the same compliance principles can be applied.

Frequently asked questions

Are there any exemptions available under Standard 4.2.5?

No, there are currently no exemptions. Standard 4.2.5 must be complied with by all egg and egg product primary producers and processors.

If there is a farm which produces / processes poultry and eggs for human consumption, which legislation would they be captured by?

As the farm is producing / processing both poultry and eggs for human consumption, they will need to comply with both Standard 4.2.2 and Standard 4.2.5 of the Food Standards Code.

Does Standard 4.2.2 apply to free range hens?

Standard 4.2.2 does not distinguish between free range and non-free range poultry/egg products.

Are snow pea sprout producers captured under Standard 4.2.6?

No. Seed sprouts are defined as sprouted seeds or sprouted beans for human consumption that include all or part of the seed. Examples include alfalfa, mung bean, broccoli, radish, onion or any other type of sprout that includes the seed or part of the seed in the final product. Seed sprouts do not include microgreens or snow peas.

What if the primary producer and/or processor intends to export their products overseas?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources provides export controls and assistance regarding exporting goods from Australia. More information can be found at Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (external site).

Are there FSMS templates available?

Yes, there are templates available for each of the products. The use of these templates is not mandatory. The templates can be used as a guide and should be modified to each food business to ensure they are site specific.

The development of a FSMS should also involve consultation with the relevant enforcement agency to ensure any specific requirements are considered.

The following are examples of templates for:

Sprouts

Industry Guide for the development of a Food Safety Program (High priority plant products) external site).

Poultry

Prime Safe Guideline Food Safety Management Statement for Poultry Producers (external site).

Eggs 

Food Safety Management Statement (external site).

Resources

WA Department of Health

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Food Regulation Implementation Sub-Committee – Implementation Package

Safefood Queensland

Australian Egg Corporation Limited

More information

Contact your local government (external site) for further information

or

Contact the Food Unit

Email:             foodunit@health.wa.gov.au
Phone:           (08) 9388 4999

Produced by

Public Health