Apr 14, 2017
Oregon House Bill 3116 will allow ungraded eggs, produced by small-scale farms to be sold directly at roadside stands and farmers markets without being graded. This legislation regularizes the current situation in a state which favors direct farm-to-consumer sales. It is estimated that farmers generate sales of approximately $44 million annually, according to the Policy Director for the Friends of Family Farmers Nonprofit.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Animal Health Director, Stephanie Page noted, “Enforcing the grading requirements isn’t a priority for ODA but HB 3116 would clarify state policy regarding egg sales.” It will however be necessary for farmers to candle eggs for internal defects in addition to conforming to proposed refrigeration requirements.
It is noted that farmers operating flocks of less than 3,000 hens do not fall under the FDA Final Rule to prevent Salmonella and eggs from these flocks are obviously at greater risk for food borne infection as has been demonstrated in recent years. The only documented cases of SE transmitted from hens to consumers since 2012 have involved backyard hens and flocks beneath the FDA cut-off which is regarded as too high. A flock of 3,000 hens could produce 70,000 dozen annually representing a public health risk unless flocks are vaccinated and regularly tested.