Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (PEQAP)
Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to institute steps to reduce the risk of Salmonella enteritidis (SE) with an effective flock testing and management program. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provides oversight, technical advice and financial assistance to this program. The PA Department of Health participates in this program in an advisory capacity and provides technical advice.
Although this program does not guarantee shell eggs to be free of SE contamination, the program does assure commitment of the producer to implementation of those management and monitoring practices most likely to prevent SE contamination.
Basic preventive measures include placement of SE clean chicks, intensive rodent control, cleaning and disinfecting between flocks, and environmental monitoring of pullet and layer houses with continuous testing of eggs from any environmentally positive houses. Positive eggs are diverted for pasteurization. Eggs must be kept refrigerated.
Pullets - Purchase chicks from SE negative breeder flocks and retest at placement. Test pullets during growing cycle.
Layers - Place SE negative birds and test flocks twice during lay.
Eggs - Pennsylvania law requires all containers to be coded for flock of origin, processor identification and expiration date.
Bio-security - All participants must maintain an acceptable bio-security program to secure facilities from outside contamination risks.
Refrigeration - Eggs must be kept under refrigeration. Pennsylvania food safety law requires all eggs to be refrigerated throughout the chain of distribution.
For more information, contact PennAg Industries Association (contact information below), or Kim Kennedy-Barnham (717) 783-5301.