No Yolk Buddy, Inspector White of the Egg Police: Let’s See the Log Books
California is putting more egg cops in the henhouse under a bill signed September 26 by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The measure is a reaction to August 2010’s nationwide recall of more than 380 million eggs produced by two Iowa farms after a eight-state salmonella outbreak that sickened some 266 Californians.
“Additional enforcement was needed to maintain food safety and quality assurances for Californians,” according to the Senate Floor Analysis of the bill – SB 549 by Sen. Michael Rubio, a Bakersfield Democrat.
In-state egg producers and brokers pay a 5-cent “assessment” for every 30 dozen eggs sold in California. Out-of-state egg producers and brokers do too except for producers who make liquid egg products like Egg Beaters.
Rubio’s bill increases the maxim assessment to 15 cents per 360 eggs and adds liquid egg products made out-of-state to the mix.
About one-third of California’s eggs come from out-of-state, making it an attractive market for non-California egg producers.
The state spends some $1.2 million on egg safety enforcement now and plans to increase enforcement in the future.
However, no specific strategy hasn’t been formulated, making it unlikely the assessment will rise to the 15 cents maximum within the next few years.
“This bill puts us in a position to continue providing strong enforcement of California’s egg standards,” said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the California Food and Agriculture Agency.
“We’ll now work with the Shell Egg Advisory Committee to determine an appropriate assessment rate for enforcement and administrative costs.”
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