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Egg processors

Egg processors are businesses that manufacture and/or pasteurise egg products including:

  • fresh liquid whole eggs, egg white, egg yolk (pulp)
  • frozen whole eggs, egg white, egg yolk
  • dried whole eggs, egg white, egg yolk
  • salted and sugared yolks
  • scrambled egg mix
  • hard boiled eggs.

Licensing, registration

Egg processors are required to:

  1. apply for a Food Authority licence online or download an application (PDF, 426 KB), print and post it
  2. meet the requirements detailed below
  3. prepare for regular audits.

You must not commence operations until you are informed that your licence application has been approved. If the premises are found to be operating without a licence, enforcement action may be taken.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal qualifications required for egg processors, however each food handler and person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

See FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.2 Division 2 in Safe Food Australia.

Full requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3.

Construction & facilities

Construction and layout of a food premise must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

Egg processors must ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are designed and constructed in a manner that means they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.

Businesses must also ensure that the premises are provided with the necessary services of water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and access to toilets.

See the FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.3 Safe Food Australia

Requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment 

Hygiene & handling

A food handler must take all reasonable measures not to handle food or surfaces likely to come into contact with food in a way that is likely to compromise the safety and suitability of food.

Food businesses must ensure there are adequate facilities for food handlers to wash their hands. Hand wash facilities must be only used for washing hands, arms and face and should include warm running water, soap (or soap alternative) and single-use hand towel.

If a food handler believes they could have or be a carrier of a food borne illness they must advise their supervisor and ensure they do not handle food that they could contaminate as a result of the disease.

Food handlers must ensure all food contact surfaces are kept clean and adequately protected from contamination.

See FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.2 Division 4 in Safe Food Australia.

For more information see also our fact sheets:

Full requirements are set out in Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2, Division 4 - Health and Hygiene.

Cleaning & sanitation

Egg processors must implement a documented cleaning schedule that identifies:

  • all fixtures, fittings and equipment used in the processing of egg products with at least 80% egg white or egg yolk, or both (where applicable)
  • the frequency of cleaning
  • how all fixtures, fittings and equipment are cleaned and sanitised
  • how food contact surfaces and utensils are sanitised (where applicable)
  • chemical usage (eg. strength, contact times, temperature).

All fixtures, fittings and equipment must be adequate for the production of safe and suitable food, and fit for their intended use.

Routine internal cleaning and sanitation inspections must be undertaken, and records maintained for corrective action taken on any identified issues.

Cleaning chemicals must be suitable for contact with food and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Food safety controls

Egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both, must be pasteurised in accordance with Standard 1.6.2. Processing Requirements in the Food Standards Code, which sets the minimum pasteurisation temperatures, minimum times and maximum cooling temperatures.

An alternative heat treatment process can only be used if the time/temperature combination achieves an equivalent outcome. If an alternative process is used, businesses must be able to demonstrate this equivalence to the Food Authority.

The pasteurisation (or equivalent) process must be documented, and monitoring records maintained for each batch to ensure the appropriate time and temperature combinations are reached.

The equipment used to pasteurise these products must also comply with the requirements specified in the NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual, which also outlines the verification and validation of the equipment.

Storage

Egg processors must maintain daily product and/or air temperature records (eg using a thermometer or a continuous data logger recorder) to demonstrate cracked eggs (less than 8°C) and egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both (less than 5°C) are being stored and maintained in accordance with the requirements.

Storage of whole eggs

The Food Authority recommends that egg processors should also implement the following practice, however it is not legally required.

Whole eggs should be stored at less than 15°C to prevent the breakdown of the yolk membrane, and consequently prevent any contaminating Salmonella from growing.

Daily product and/or air temperature records (eg. using a thermometer or a continuous data logger record) should be maintained to demonstrate whole eggs are being stored and maintained at less than 15°C. Temperature measuring devices should be easily accessible and demonstrate accuracy of ± 1°C.

Collection and storage of pulp

Businesses that collect pulp must be licensed with the Food Authority to conduct this activity. Pulp may be collected using a number of different methods, such as centrifugation (or ’gulping’), mechanical separation or physical separation.

If you centrifuge eggs they must be visibly clean (ie faeces, soil and other matter removed) prior to the production of pulp.

Eggs must be dry when pulped to prevent contamination of the liquid egg product from water droplets on the shell.

Cracked eggs used for pulp must be stored under hygienic conditions at less than 8°C prior to their use in the production of pulp. Unpasteurised pulp must be stored in a separate area to pasteurised pulp to prevent the risk of cross contamination or misidentification.

Eggs broken in the process of final crack detection may be used for pulp provided the controls above are in place to minimise microbial growth. Pulp must be stored under hygienic conditions at less than 5°C and sent for pasteurisation with minimum delay.

Egg processors need to have a documented procedure for the collection and storage of pulp which outlines:

  1. the process used to collect and store pulp
  2. the process used to dispose of broken eggs
  3. how the pulp is labelled (eg. date of collection, quantity of pulp, and intended use of the pulp, eg. ‘waste or unpasteurised pulp to be processed’).

Record keeping

The following records need to be kept for pulp collection and storage:

  1. purchase details of eggs if applicable (eg. the farm that supplied the eggs)
  2. batch details of eggs used (eg production date)
  3. date and quantity of pulp collected
  4. daily product and/or air temperatures to demonstrate that pulp is stored at less than 5°C
  5. calibration of temperature measuring devices (eg. thermometer, continuous data logger or coolroom gauges) which must be accessible and demonstrate accuracy of ± 1°C.

Cracked eggs

Cracked (including broken) eggs must not be made available for retail sale or catering purposes (Standard 2.2.2 of the Food Standards Code).

Cracked eggs must not be used in the production of egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both.

Egg processors need to have a documented procedure for the handling of cracked eggs on their premises, which outlines:

  1. how cracked eggs are identified (eg. clearly labelled as waste)
  2. the process used to segregate and dispose of cracked eggs (eg. hygienically and away from eggs intended for processing).

Dirty eggs

Eggs must be visibly clean (ie. faeces, soil and other matter removed) before they are used in the production of egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both (eg. pulp).

Egg processors must have a documented procedure for the handling of dirty eggs on their premises which outlines:

  • the process used to deal with dirty eggs, such as:
    • separating the egg contents from the shell using a process that minimises contact between the outside of the shell and the egg product (eg. automated or manual hand breaking of dry eggs)
    • discarding dirty eggs.
  • how dirty eggs are identified (eg. clearly labelled as waste), segregated and discarded (eg. hygienically, and away from eggs intended for processing).

Approved supplier program

Receiving whole shell eggs

Businesses must only accept eggs that have been protected from the likelihood of contamination.

Egg processors should:

  1. only purchase whole shell eggs from reputable suppliers
  2. maintain a contact list (ie. name and business address) of all their egg suppliers.

Receiving cracked eggs or unpasteurised egg products

Businesses that receive cracked eggs or unpasteurised egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both, must only accept food that has been protected from the likelihood of contamination.

Egg processors should:

  1. only purchase cracked eggs or unpasteurised egg products from reputable suppliers
  2. maintain a contact list (ie name and business address) of all their suppliers.

Product and/or air temperature records must be maintained for each delivery of these foods using a thermometer or a continuous data logger. Unpasteurised egg products must be received at less than 5ºC, or if frozen, frozen hard solid. Cracked eggs must be received at less than 8ºC.

The following records for the purchase of these foods need to also be maintained:

  • names and addresses of the persons or businesses from whom the foods are purchased
  • dates on which the foods are purchased
  • lot identification numbers of the foods purchased
  • quantity of the foods purchased.

Approved supplier program – other inputs

Other inputs that may potentially contaminate eggs need to be suitable for contact with food, such as packaging materials.

To comply with this requirement egg processors should obtain information from their suppliers that demonstrates all inputs are suitable for contact with food.

Use of egg products in food

Egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both, must not be used in food unless they have been pasteurised.

Businesses that pasteurise these products need to:

  • be licensed with the Food Authority
  • meet the requirements of the Food Standards Code
    • Standard 1.6.2 – Processing Requirements
  • meet the pasteurisation equipment requirements specified in the NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual
  • maintain a list of all the processed foods they produce that contain these pasteurised products.

Sale of egg products

Egg processors that sell unpasteurised egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both, within NSW need to demonstrate that they are only sold to a licensed egg business authorised to pasteurise these products by keeping a copy of the purchaser’s current Food Authority licence.

These products must also be labelled with an advisory statement to the effect that they are unpasteurised, in accordance with the requirements of Standard 1.2.3 – Mandatory Warnings and Advisory Statements and Declarations of the Food Standards Code.

The following records need to be kept for the sale of these products.

  • names and addresses of the person or businesses to whom the foods are sold
  • dates on which the foods are sold
  • lot identification numbers of the foods sold
  • quantity of the foods sold.

Dried egg products

The minimum requirement for the heat treatment of dried egg products is set out in Standard 1.6.2 of the Food Standards Code or an equivalent demonstrated method.

See factsheet: Requirements for egg processors

Dried egg products must be stored in a dry store after processing.

Labelling

Egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk, or both, provided for retail sale must comply with Part 1.2 Labelling and Other Information Requirements of the Food Standards Code.

The following core information must be provided with each delivery of these foods sold for non-retail sale (ie Standard 1.2.2 – Food Identification Requirements of the Food Standards Code):

  • the name of the food, eg. egg pulp, dried egg pulp, dried whole egg
  • the egg processors name and address
  • lot identification (date marking may be used in lieu of the lot identification).

Also, information required by the rest of Part 1.2 Labelling and Other Information Requirements of the Food Standards Code must be available upon request by the purchaser if businesses sell any of these foods for non-retail sale. This extra information enables the purchaser to comply with the rest of their labelling requirements in the Food Standards Code.

Testing

Egg processors producing pasteurised egg products with at least 80% egg white or yolk or both, must be sampled and tested for Salmonella in accordance with the NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual.

Those processors that use non-reticulated water in the washing of eggs must be tested in accordance with the NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual. Businesses wanting to use recycled water are required to apply in writing to the Food Authority. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual specifies microbiological testing requirements for non-reticulated water, specifically E.coli. Businesses that use a non-reticulated water supply and treat the water with chlorine or another suitable method are required to test this water daily for residual chlorine levels and maintain records of the water treatment. Food Safety Officers will review monitoring records and test results.

  • Any analysis is at the licence holder’s expense and must be conducted by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) or Food Authority approved laboratory.
  • The licence holder must notify the Food Authority if an analysed sample fails to meet the standards as detailed in the Manual or those set by the Food Authority.
  • This notification to the Food Authority is to be made verbally within 24 hours, and in writing within seven days, of becoming aware of the sample failure.
  • Hygienic processing, and hygiene and sanitation require microbiological verification to demonstrate that processing and cleaning are meeting the required standard.

Inspections & audits

Egg processors will be routinely inspected by the Food Authority for compliance with requirements.

Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.

There are fees for audits and inspections, payable by the licence holder.

For more see audits of licensed businesses.

Legislation & standards

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