The FDA yesterday recommended changes aimed at reducing by one-third the salmonella infections caused each year by tainted eggs, according to the Associated Press.
The agency estimates that 118,000 people each year are sickened by eating improperly cooked eggs contaminated with salmonella.
By bolstering safety at farms with more than 3,000 laying hens that do not already pasteurize their eggs, the agency hopes to trim illness rates by 33,500 per year.
The changes, if adopted, would cost an estimated 4,100 affected farms about $82 million per year. Depending on farm size, producers could pay from as little as 19 cents to as much as $1 in increased costs per laying hen. Because safer food would reduce hospitalizations, however, the measure could provide $490 million in savings, the agency estimates.
The proposed safety measures include the creation of biosecurity programs and provisions that eggs stored at the farm are refrigerated and pests controlled.
Farms and egg producers will now have to create biosecurity programs that limit access to poultry houses and require visitors to shower in both directions and dispose of potentially tainted outer clothing. A positive salmonella test result would prompt disinfection of the poultry house and prevent those eggs from reaching the market.