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December 19, 2003
For immediate release

Egg Producers Gearing up HACCP Program

Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry

Food safety and quality is securing a better competitive edge for Prince Edward Island eggs producers who are taking extra steps to ensure their systems will meet national food safety guidelines.

The Egg Producers of Prince Edward Island recently hired consultant Tony Glencross to help determine the cost of bringing Island processing and grading operations up to the quality control standards, using the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) formula. The producers received funding help from the Prince Edward Island ADAPT Council, which administers Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development (CARD) Fund in the province.

Nationally, the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency has developed the Start Clean-Stay Clean Program to ensure food safety, and Michael Cummiskey, the general manager of the Egg Producers of Prince Edward Island, said this current project ties in with that effort. This national program came on stream earlier this year.

To get things started, Mr. Glencross visited the Island's 13 producers and five egg grading stations to determine what the operations had to do to meet HACCP standards. He was also asked to produce a detailed cost analysis for each individual farm and a general analysis for the industry. He came up with a "before" tax price tag of $1,687,200 for the entire industry.

Mr. Cummiskey noted that the next step in the process was to meet with officials from the federal and provincial governments to see if more funding would be made available to producers interested in upgrading their operation.

"Certainly we are optimistic there will be some assistance provided but we don't have anything confirmed at this point," Cummiskey said. "After that, it will be up to each individual producer and grading station how they want to proceed."

Ms. Cummiskey also said that, "the entire egg industry recognizes that improvements have to be made to on-farm and grading stations to ensure food safety. While egg producers and grading stations must undertake the changes to their particular operation, the board can, and will, play a major role as facilitator."

He said the board will assist producers, wherever possible, in meeting the HACCP standards. Monitoring of producer's progress will occur through the Start Clean-Stay Clean project, which requires at least one inspection per year.

Media Contact: Daphne Crosby
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