The Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme is a code of best practice covering both the production and packing of eggs. Eggs that are produced and packed in accordance with the requirements of the code are eligible to carry the Quality Assured logo on packs, and on point of sale materials in the case of loose sales. The Scheme was first accredited under EN45011 in 2002.
Producers seeking membership can initially apply directly to Bord Bia or through their packing centre. A full independent audit of the producer will be carried out to evaluate the capability of the applicant to meet all the requirements of the Standard. When the producer is deemed to have complied with the requirements of the Standard, the production house will be considered for certification under the Scheme. When certified, the producer will be issued with a certificate for the production house which will be listed on the Bord Bia register/database. Before the certification expires, the producer will receive a reminder letter from Bord Bia advising that a further audit is required to maintain certification.
The key aspects of egg production covered in the code include flock sourcing, hygiene, disease control, flock welfare and environmental protection. There is particular emphasis on hygiene and disease control especially on the control of salmonella. The salmonella controls are essentially built around the sourcing of pre-lay birds from approved sources and with relevant documentary evidence; the heat treatment of feed; and routine salmonella testing on the farm. Under Irish legislation flocks infected with salmonella must be slaughtered out.
The scheme also lays down detailed provisions on the use of medication, and on flock welfare (including space requirements for caged flocks). The requirements of the scheme cover both caged and alternative production systems. Organic producers can also be certified.
The standards for the egg packer include a requirement for a fully developed quality management system that includes a Quality Assurance Control Plan based on the principles of HACCP. Product identification and traceability is a key element of the packer requirements. This ensures that if there is any breach of the quality chain the product can be traced back to the farm of origin and the cause identified at source.
Packing centres are subject to independent audit during which their compliance with each of the scheme requirements will be assessed. When the packing centre is deemed to have complied with the requirements of the Standard, it will be considered for certification under the Scheme. When certified, the packing centre will be issued with a certificate and will be listed on the Bord Bia database / register and on the member list.