US - The US' National Chicken Council has said the broiler industry is being forced to discard millions of eggs by the Food and Drug Administration, when the eggs could have been used to help with shortages in the wake of the avian flu outbreaks.
The Council explained that before eggs are taken to a broiler hatchery, they are stored at 65°F before incubation, as warmer temperatures could induce incubation too early and colder temperatures could render the eggs unviable.
Hatcheries may have more eggs than they need to hatch, and they previously would be able to sell these surplus eggs to egg processors, known as “breakers,” to be pasteurised and used in egg products, for example to be included in cake mixes, pie crusts, mayonaisse and so on.
However, FDA issued a Final Rule in 2010 saying that all eggs intended to be sent to breaking facilities for eventual pasteurisation must be kept at 45°F within 36 hours after being laid, preventing hatcheries from using them and forcing them to be discarded or rendered.
The National Chicken Council, Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Association for Dressings and Sauces this week petitioned FDA to reverse or modify this policy.
“In light of the strain the HPAI outbreak is putting on the nation’s egg supply, FDA should revisit the use of the surplus of affordable, quality eggs available in the United States for use by egg breakers and their customers, rather than seeking costly imports of foreign eggs,” the groups wrote.
Because of the outbreaks, the country's layer population decreased by 25 per cent, and industry experts estimate that the price of a dozen breaker eggs rose dramatically from $0.63 in late April to $2.15 in early June – an increase of 241 per cent.
“Already faced with egg shortages, food producers and consumers might be hit even harder in their wallets as we head into the annual holiday baking season, unless FDA allows us to stop throwing away these eggs,” noted Ashley Peterson, PhD, NCC senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.
The full petition from the food groups to the FDAcan be viewed by clicking here.