Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, is reminding food retailers and consumers that from today, eggs produced in NSW must be stamped with a unique identifying mark to allow them to be traced back to the farm of origin.
Ms Hodgkinson said this protection is part of a new national standard for eggs that will help reduce the impact of a food poisoning outbreak through improved traceability.
“I commend the egg industry, which has widely met this requirement and come on board well before today’s deadline,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Producers see the value in not only protecting their customers; they also recognise the benefit of improved traceability to the industry.
“Egg stamping will mean that the source of an outbreak will be more easily traced and contained.”
Ms Hodgkinson said while eggs are a healthy and nutritious food, like all food there is an element of risk.
“Eggs are a leading source of Salmonella – between 2010 and 2014 in NSW there were 40 food poisoning outbreaks associated with eggs, affected more than 700 people, with many requiring hospitalisation,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“This is part of the role the NSW Food Authority plays to ensure food safety along each step of the food chain, from paddock to plate.”
Ms Hodgkinson said in order to reduce the impact upon smaller operators, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has provided free stamps to small businesses producing less than 1000 eggs a day.
“We have also introduced an exemption for operators that produce less than 20 dozen eggs a week and sell those eggs direct from the farm gate or use those eggs for a fundraising purpose where the eggs will be cooked and consumed immediately, such as an egg and bacon roll at a sausage sizzle,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“However for the most part, from today people should only buy eggs that have the unique stamp on the shell.
“We recognise that there will be a transitional period where there may still be unstamped product in the market and the NSW Food Authority will be monitoring compliance with this requirement from 26 November.
“The egg stamp is intended for traceability in the event of an outbreak, not advice; consumers will still find the relevant information about where their eggs come from and which production method was used on the outer packaging.”