Dr Hewson explained: “If I’m talking to producers, it is about understanding the basis for their current salmonella risk management strategies, and how they go about improving or reviewing these. If I’m talking to retailers or regulatory authorities, it is about the basis for their standards on-farm in terms of food safety and what information their decisions are based on.”
“The first step is to develop scientifically-grounded standards and get them in place,” said Dr Hewson. This involves a lot of research, talk and groundwork. She has been spending quite a bit of time with Health Departments and food regulatory authorities to understand their processes for investigating foodborne illness outbreaks.
“I’ve been asking why they do the things they do, and why they look at what they look at,” she said. Similarly for retailers, questions about what their standards are based on have been asked. …
“A major issue for the industry is that if there is a foodborne illness outbreak, it does not matter where the eggs have come from, the industry as a whole is tarred with the same brush, so it becomes reputational.”
One strategy being investigated is the option of creating a market for eggs produced to the highest standards of Salmonella risk management. This idea mirrors the British Lion scheme in the United Kingdom, and is especially applicable to high-risk food producers, e.g. those producing raw-egg products.