Shell Egg Manual - Chapter 3 - Plant Inspection

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3.1 Objective of activity

The objective of the plant inspection activity is to ensure that shell eggs are graded and packed in an egg station that meets the minimum requirements for sanitation, operation and maintenance.

3.2 References

Canada Agricultural Products Act
Egg Regulations
CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-food Chemical Products

3.3 Required equipment

Thermometer
pH Paper
Hygrometer
Sterile 8 oz. sample cups
Environmental Kits
Marking Pen
Flashlight
Light Meter
Coveralls or Lab coats (as per Area requirement)
Sanitary footwear
Disinfectant - spray bottle, pail, brush

3.4 Required forms

*All forms listed on this page are intended for internal use. CFIA staff can access these forms using the CFIA internal forms catalogue - (Internal access only).

Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761)
Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109)
Action Plan Poultry/Egg Programs (CFIA/ACIA 2280

3.5 Preparations for a plant inspection

Plant inspections should be conducted at the frequencies indicated in the Frequency of Inspection Level (FOIL) table in Appendix I. During each inspection an Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761) is to be completed. Other activities, including environmental sampling, wash water sampling, and water potability auditing, are conducted at set frequencies based on the annual Shell Egg Operational Work plan. In preparation for a plant inspection:

  • determine if sampling is required (e.g. wash water, environmental, residue, etc.).
  • gather all required materials.
  • when an environmental sampling is scheduled, a pre-op inspection should be conducted.
  • review previous Egg Station Inspection/Rating Reports CFIA/ACIA 3761), action plans and lab results for the station. Make Note of any repeat non-conformities that may require an action plan if not corrected.

3.6 Egg station inspection/rating report

The Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761) is to be used for rating registered egg stations. The inspection assessment for an egg station is based on the level of sanitation on the day of the inspection and the outcome of the day's product inspections.

The results of this assessment will determine how many demerits are assigned for that day's inspection. The total number of demerits over 5 inspections will determine the Plant Rating.

The Sanitation Rating is divided into four major sections;

  1. Egg Handling
  2. Other Areas
  3. Temperature and Relative Humidity
  4. Washwater

Each item in sections 1 and 2 is assessed with respect to sanitation and operation where sanitation refers to the assessment of cleanliness of the plant and equipment and operation refers to the assessment of equipment function and the goings-on in the plant. Items which require attention in sections 1 and 2, which maybe future concerns should be noted on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report under the Remarks section in order to notify the plant of items and to advise other CFIA inspection staff of areas for follow up during future inspections. Points are not removed for these items.

The Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report is designed so that inspectors have the flexibility to take off partial points. Where a total of 10 or more points may be awarded, partial points can be deducted if the item of concern is minor in nature and a first time violation.

3.6.1 Egg handling

3.6.1.1 Grading Room

Sanitation: 10 points - option to take off 5 or 10 points

  • Floors, walls, ceilings, doors, plastic curtains, windows, drains and candling booth (curtain, etc.) should be reasonably clean. Floors around machinery must be washed as required throughout the day. Drains have to be trapped. Drains and gutters should be cleaned daily and have no odour. Normal accumulation of egg residue from the day's operation is permitted. There should be evidence of daily cleaning and no presence of mould, fungi, etc.
  • The hand wash sink should be clean, functional, supplied with hot and cold potable water, and equipped with soap, disposable hand towels and a garbage container.
  • The sanitation program should ensure the satisfactory cleaning of exposed pipes, bumper rails, fans, refrigeration units, fixtures, motors, cart wash facilities, etc. Satisfactory cleaning is defined as no evidence of excessive dust or other material, loose rust or loose paint. Rust in this area is rust that may contaminate food and/or food handlers. If it flakes or rubs off, it is unsatisfactory. (If it does not rub off, record it under Operation). Refrigeration units and fans should be cleaned on a regular basis. Equipment will accumulate dust, however, the sanitation program should prohibit excessive accumulation.
  • The garbage disposal system must be adequate to avoid buildup of product, debris, and refuse, and to avoid the presence of odours. Garbage should be removed daily to an approved garbage area. To be satisfactory, the sanitation program should accommodate the required removal and proper disposal of inedible product. Garbage and inedible containers should be washed daily.
  • The grading room should be properly ventilated to avoid musty or excessive barn odour or other odours that could taint egg flavours. It should be kept orderly, tidy and reasonably free of extraneous material.
  • Personnel working in the grading room should wear reasonably clean apparel dedicated to their work stations. Employees should change clothing and wash hands as necessary in order to prevent contamination of graded product or areas.
  • Keeping in mind that some flies will come in with ungraded eggs, the grading room should have an adequate insect, vermin, and animal control program. Fly or rodent baits are not permitted. Stations should have catch all type mouse traps and fly strips or glue boards for insects, or other effective methods that will not contaminate the grading environment.
  • Cartons, boxes, and other packing material should be kept off the floor. These materials can be on the floor only if they are wrapped and the floor is clean and dry.

Operation: 5 points

  • Operation of this room is to be carried out in a manner such that registration requirements are maintained.
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, doors, drains and fixtures are to be void of peeling or loose paint and in good repair. Visual rust should be scraped off and the surface re-painted. Joints and cracks, if greater than 3 mm (1/8"), must be sealed with silicone or other suitable material.
  • A 15 cm (6") space is required between all walls and items to allow for good sanitation practices, visual inspection and to discourage rodent nesting.
  • Lighting in areas where eggs are sorted, inspected, packed and marked should be 540 lux. In areas where eggs and packing materials are exposed, lighting should be of a type that will not cause contamination in the event of breakage.
  • No person shall use tobacco in any form, chew gum or consume food of any kind, except water dispensed from a drinking fountain, in any part of a registered egg station in which eggs are prepared.
  • Any egg that fails to meet the requirements of a grade set out in Schedule I of the Egg Regulations shall be destroyed or packed in a container bearing the words Rejects and “Rejetés”. All containers of rejects or other inedible egg must be properly marked.

3.6.1.2 Graded and Ungraded Coolers

Sanitation:
Sanitation Graded Cooler =
5 points
Ungraded Cooler =
5 points
Total =
10 points

Note: For stations authorized to operate with only one cooler, 10 points are assigned for that cooler.

Graded Cooler: 5 points

  • Floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures, etc. must be clean. Normal accumulation of residue from the day's operation is permitted. Buildup of mould, fungi and stain must not be in evidence.
  • The graded cooler should be void of odours that could taint egg flavour. Food products that could affect the flavour or safety of the eggs, or other non-compatible products are not to be stored in the cooler (e.g. chemicals, pet foods, etc.).
  • Exposed pipes, bumper rails, fixtures, fans, motors, refrigeration units and filters should be cleaned as outlined in the station's sanitation program.
  • The graded cooler should have an adequate fly, insect, vermin, and animal control program. Fly or rodent baits are not permitted. Stations should use “catch all” type mouse traps, fly strips, glue boards or other effective pest control methods that will not contaminate the plant environment.
  • Cartons, boxes, and other packing material should be kept off the cooler floor. These materials can be on the floor only if they are wrapped and the floor is clean and dry.

Ungraded Cooler: 5 points

  • Floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures, etc. must be reasonably clean. Normal accumulation of residue from the day's operation is permitted. Buildup of mould, fungi and stain must not be in evidence.
  • The ungraded cooler should be void of musty, excessive barn or other odours that could taint egg flavour. Food products and other non-compatible products (e.g. chemicals, pet foods, etc.) that could affect the flavour or safety of eggs, are not to be stored in the cooler.
  • Exposed pipes, bumper rails, fixtures, fans, motors, refrigeration units and filters should be cleaned as outlined in the stations sanitation program.
  • Keeping in mind that some flies will come in with ungraded eggs, the ungraded cooler should have an adequate fly, insect, vermin, and animal control program. Fly or rodent baits are not permitted. Stations should use catch all type mouse traps, fly strips, glue boards or other effective methods that will not contaminate the plant environment.
  • Cartons, boxes, and other packing material should be kept off the cooler floor.
Operation:
Graded Cooler =
5 points
Ungraded Cooler =
5 points
Total =
10 points

Note: For stations authorized to operate with only one cooler, 10 points are assigned for that cooler.

  • Graded and ungraded coolers are to be sufficient in size to hold the maximum anticipated volume of shell eggs.
  • Separation of eggs graded Canada A, Canada B and Canada C from those graded Canada Nest Run or ungraded is maintained. Since eggs bearing a dye mark are washed and are destined for processing, they may be stored in either cooler.
  • The coolers should be operated in a manner that maximizes the effects of cooling. Consider rotation, uniform distribution of refrigeration, handling of product, etc.
  • All ungraded eggs received shall be graded and marked prior to being marketed unless the Executive Director otherwise directs.
  • Pallets of eggs should be kept at least 15 cm (6") away from the walls to allow for proper cooling and air circulation, inspection for the presence of pests and assessment of sanitation.
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, doors, fixtures, etc. should be kept in good repair. Joints and cracks, if greater than 3 mm (1/8"), must be sealed with silicone or other material.
  • In areas where eggs or packing materials are exposed, all lighting is to be of a type that will not cause egg contamination in the event of breakage. Lighting in this room should be 220 lux.
  • All equipment and utensils used to handle inedible or contaminated materials in a registered egg station shall be so identified and shall not be used to handle eggs.

3.6.1.3 Loader/Preloader and Condition of Eggs

Sanitation: 10 points - option to take off 5 or 10

  • All rollers, conveyors, suction cups, lifter mechanisms, orientors etc., should be reasonably clean and free of loose rust. Allow for normal daily accumulation. These areas should be cleaned daily as a minimum. If eggs are being broken, the equipment will have to be cleaned more often during the production day. Suction cups should be washed daily by immersion and soaking in a chlorinated washing solution.
  • Use judgment when inspecting motors, air systems, hydraulic platforms etc. that have no direct or indirect cross-contamination possibilities with eggs. This equipment must be maintained and cleaned periodically to avoid excess grease, dust or residues.
  • Where required, the plant should have a system in place to remove excessively dirty eggs (with manure in excess of 1/3 of the shell) prior to the washer. Allow one excessively dirty egg per tray before removing the points.

Operation: 5 points

  • All equipment should be in good repair, not causing cracked eggs, leakers or soiled eggs. All lifters should function properly. Visual rust should be scraped and surfaces re-painted.
  • Where sorting (removal of excessively dirty eggs) occurs at the loaders and preloaders the lighting must be 540 lux. Where the sorting of eggs does not occur at loading due to the use of automated equipment, the inspector may determine that 220 lux is sufficient.

3.6.1.4 Washer-Dryer

Sanitation:
Washer =
8 points
Dryer =
7 points
Total =
15 points
  • Washer units, basket washers, conveyors, rollers, brushes, curtains, flaps, screens, spray systems and heating coils should be clean.
  • Some accumulation of egg meat and shell can be expected on the screens during operation. However, excessive or rapid accumulation is unacceptable.
  • Washers should have a cleaning program to prevent the buildup of scale. An approved alkaline or acid cleaner should be used to remove scale on a regular basis. The exterior of the washer should be reasonably clean.
  • The exhaust from the washer must be adequate, functional and free of excessive buildup. Back-drip onto eggs from the exhaust pipes is not acceptable as the exhaust area can become seriously contaminated with bacteria. The exhaust chamber should be equipped with an inspection port for cleaning and inspection.
  • The dryer should be reasonably clean. Filters and screens should be cleaned as required.
Operation:
Washer =
5 points
Dryer =
5 points
Total =
10 points
  • The rinse water temperature should be higher than the wash water temperature to aid in the drying of eggs. Wash water should be changed at regular intervals throughout the day, and at the end of each shift to maintain an acceptable microbial level. Eggs should not be permitted to remain in the washer during breaks unless the lid of the washer is open to allow steam to escape.
  • Proper thermometers are to be installed in the washer. They must be functional and calibrated. Sensors on pH meters must be clean to ensure proper soap addition.
  • Eggs must be reasonably dry before packing. Judgment is required to determine if most of the egg surface is dry. Oiling of eggs by machine is permitted.

3.6.1.5 Candler-Packer

Sanitation:
Candler =
6 points
Scales =
7 points
Packers =
7 points
Total =
20 points

In situations where a problem is considered excessive or serious, even if only on one section, all 20 points should be deducted. The equipment is to be thoroughly cleaned before start-up the next day.

Where problems are minimal, partial points may be deducted in the following way;

  • 6 points for the candler (from entry into the candling area to the transfer bars at the scales, including crack detectors)
  • 7 points for the scales (from and including the transfer bars to and including the foam discs or drop off point)
  • 7 points for the packers (everything from the foam discs or drop off points to the final packing points on the machines)
  • Candlers, crack detectors, wands, vacuum systems for leakers and rejects, scales, rollers, guides, separators, conveyors, clam shells and all other contact surfaces must be kept clean and absent of odours. During a pre-op inspection, contact surfaces must be clean. When the inspection is performed during grading, allow for minimal daily accumulation. Spills on belts from leakers need to be cleaned immediately. Non-contact surfaces should be reasonably clean, and there should not be any flaking paint or rust.
  • Oilers, if used, must not have excessive buildup that can harbour bacteria. The oil must be listed in the CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemicals or otherwise be demonstrated by the operator to be safe for use on shell eggs.
  • Where an inkjet printer is used for marking eggs, the ink used must be on the CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemicals [http://www.inspection.gc.ca/active/scripts/fssa/reference/reference.asp?lang=e] or be otherwise demonstrated by the operator to be safe for use on shell eggs.
  • The towels at the end of conveyors must be changed daily or as required. Rotating towels is satisfactory if the towel area exposed is not excessively dirty or creating odours.

Operation: 5 points

  • Equipment is to be kept in good operating condition and permit the satisfactory candling, sizing and packing of eggs.
  • When automatic grading equipment (such as crack, dirt, blood, leaker detectors) is in use, the operator must demonstrate that the equipment is operating and functioning properly.

3.6.1.6 Conveyor

Sanitation: 5 points

All transporting systems and containers for graded and ungraded eggs are included in this section.

  • Graded eggs: carts, baskets, fibre or plastic boxes/cases, etc., for graded eggs may be reused if they are clean. Plastic trays have to be washed, sanitized, dry and clean before being used for graded eggs. Molded pulp trays and all cartons must be new for eggs graded Canada A or Canada B.
  • Ungraded eggs: all conveyor systems, carts, trolleys, boxes/cases, etc. should be reasonably clean. Plastic trays for ungraded eggs have to be washed, sanitized, dry and clean before being returned to laying facilities. For rating purposes, one in five trays may have minimal dirt, manure, egg meat or other material.
  • Ungraded and Graded eggs:
    • Carts, Baskets and Conveyor Systems
      • Excessively rusty ones (those with rust on over 20% of the surface) should not be used but set aside for repair.
    • Dividers
      • Size of dividers should be compatible with pallet size.
      • Dividers must be strong enough to take bumps and hold eggs if any shifting occurs during transportation.
      • Dividers must be maintained in a sanitary manner.
      • Used chipboard or other materials which are not cleanable, are not recommended
      • Upon inspection, the surfaces should be reasonably clean. If not, then the dividers should be removed for cleaning or replaced.
    • Pallets
      • Pallets must be in sound condition and kept clean.
      • Pallet size should be compatible with divider size.
      • Upon inspection, the surfaces should be reasonably clean. If not, then the pallets should be removed for cleaning or replaced.
    • Transport Vehicles
      • Vehicles must be constructed of materials free of noxious constituents.
      • Surfaces must be hard, smooth, in good repair and clean.
      • Vehicles must provide adequate protection for the eggs from contamination.
      • Vehicles cannot have been used for the conveyance of control products defined in the Pest Control Products Act or any other material or substance or thing that might adulterate or affect the flavour of the eggs

Operation: 5 points

  • Systems for transporting or handling eggs should be in good operating condition so as not to cause cracks or leakers. This includes all conveyor systems, in-line or others.
  • Vehicles used for the transport of eggs to or from a registered egg station are equipped to maintain eggs in a refrigerated state where applicable. Eggs may be transported without refrigeration if conveyed for less than 2 hours, however, maintaining the eggs at a constant cool temperature will minimize the risk of condensation on the shells.

3.6.1.7 Other Equipment

Sanitation and Operation: 5 points

  • Tray washers, tray dryers, over wrapping, cleaning equipment, other equipment, etc., are kept reasonably clean and odour free.
  • Non-contact equipment surfaces should not have extensive build-up of dust, grease, etc. Some accumulation is expected, however, the build-up of egg residue should be kept to a minimum.
  • Equipment used to apply markings to eggs and containers should be in good working order. Markings shall be printed, stamped or otherwise applied so that they are legible and clearly discernible.

3.6.2 Other Areas

3.6.2.1 Other Rooms

All rooms other than the grading room and coolers need to be considered in this section.

Sanitation: 10 points - option to take off 5 or 10

  • Rooms such as the buffer room/anteroom, dry storage, garbage and inedible areas, washing areas, inspector rooms and booths, lunch rooms, lavatories, change rooms and inside receiving rooms must be kept reasonably clean, tidy, odour free and free of flies, insects and vermin.
  • Washrooms and lunch rooms should be clean and vented to the outside. They should be supplied with soap, hot and cold water, disposable towels and a garbage container.
  • Packaging materials must be kept off the floor. These materials can be on the floor only if they are wrapped and the floor is clean and dry.

Operation: 5 points

  • All rooms must be kept in good repair.
  • Exhaust fans, drains and sewage systems must be functional and operating.
  • Joints and cracks, if greater than 6 mm (1/4"), must be sealed with silicone or other suitable material.
  • A 15 cm (6") space is required between all walls and items to allow for good sanitation practices, visual inspection and to discourage rodent nesting.
  • Dock levelers in shipping and receiving areas should be equipped with dock sweeps. (Dock sweeps are brushes that fill the space between the dock leveler and the concrete.)
  • Buffer rooms/anterooms must be equipped with mechanical ventilation.
  • Self-closing doors are required in washrooms, lunchrooms, anterooms, inedible rooms, garbage rooms and for exterior doors. A separate chemical room with a self-closing door should also be considered.
  • Notices are to be posted in prominent places instructing employees to wash their hands immediately after using toilet facilities and that smoking is prohibited
  • Light bulbs and fixtures in areas where eggs or packing materials are exposed are to be of a type that will not cause egg contamination in the event of breakage. Light intensity must be a minimum of 540 lux where eggs are inspected or sorted. All other areas should have adequate lighting to meet the requirement of the operation.
  • Any detergent, sanitizer or other chemical agent in a registered egg station shall be properly labelled and shall be stored and used in a manner that prevents contamination of egg or any egg contact surface.

3.6.2.2 Outside Premises: 5 points

  • The buildings are to be continuously kept in registration condition and should be protected against the entrance of flies, birds, water leaks, etc. The property is to be maintained in a neat and orderly manner for a 6 meter (20') radius around the station. It should be free of standing water, tall grass, debris and other materials likely to be breeding places for flies or rodents or be the cause of any other objectionable conditions, especially around shipping and receiving docks.
  • Incinerators, where used, are kept in good order and are not directly accessible from the grading or holding rooms.

3.6.3 Temperature and relative humidity

  • The cooling capacity of the graded cooler must be 10°C (50°F) or less. The cooling capacity of the ungraded cooler must be 13°C (55°F) or less. The relative humidity in any room where eggs are held in a registered egg station shall be maintained at not more than 85 percent.
  • Thermometers and hygrometers must be installed, operational and accurate.
  • A station must demonstrate the capacity to cool and maintain the ambient room temperature required for each cooler. These temperatures should be taken near the start-up of the day's operation and show that minimum requirements are met. Throughout the day, the temperature in the cooler may fluctuate as the cooler door is opened for shipping and receiving.
  • As an alternative to operating with two coolers, a station may have an approved exemption (see Chapter 2 - Shell Egg - Registration, section 2.8.2.1). In such a case, the cooler temperature must meet the requirement for the product for which the cooler is designated. Scoring will be done as normal for this cooler. N/A is to be recorded for the other cooler category on the rating report. No points will be deducted for this line.
  • If the station does not follow their approved exemption protocol and the separation of eggs graded Canada A, Canada B and Canada C from those graded Canada Nest Run or ungraded is not maintained, the station's exemption may be revoked. The station will be required to submit a corrective action plan including plans for installation of a second cooler.

Temperature – Rate as follows:

Upgraded
10 pts – 13°C (55°F) or less
0 pts – >13°C (55°F)

Action Plan and follow-up required for temperatures over 13°C (55°F).

Graded:
30 pts – 10°C (50°F) or less
15 pts – >10°C (50°F) to 13°C (55°F)
0 pts – >13°C (55°F)

Action Plan and follow-up required for temperatures over 10°C (50°F).

Relative humidity - Rate as follows

5 pts - ≤ 85%
0 pts - above 85%

Follow-up required for relative humidity above 85%.

3.6.4 Wash water

Condition of Wash water: 20 points

  • Recirculating type of egg washers must maintain the following wash water conditions:
  • a minimum temperature of 40°C (104°F),
  • a minimum pH of 10, and
  • a wash water result of 100,000/g aerobic colony count (ACC) or less.

If operating with a pre-washer, the egg station must maintain the following pre-wash conditions:

  • the overflow must flow to the drain
  • a temperature range of 32°C - 35°C (89.6°F - 95°F),
  • a minimum pH of 10, and
  • a wash water result of 100,000/g ACC or less.
  • Basket washer must maintain the following wash water conditions:
  • a minimum temperature of 40°C (104°F),
  • a minimum pH of 10, and
  • an average wash water result of 100,000/g ACC or less

Aquamagic washer must maintain the following wash water conditions:

Temperature and pH readings supplement bacteriological analysis and are recorded for each regular inspection. It is recommended that temperature and pH readings be taken three times, distributed over the duration of the inspection (individual readings may be recorded in the remarks section of CFIA/ACIA 3761 and the average readings recorded in section 4 of this form). A calibrated thermometer and acceptable pH indicating paper should be used. Readings should be at acceptable levels each time. If either temperature or pH are found to be unacceptable, 20 points are lost.

Samples for bacteriological analysis of wash water are taken as per the annual sampling plans. If the wash water results from the prewasher or any one wash tanks are above 100, 000/g ACC, 20 points are lost.

Any egg station with over 1,000,000/g ACC for wash water or pre-wash water samples would be considered unacceptable: 20 points are lost, the sanitation rating is considered Serious, and 5 demerits would automatically be assigned and recorded under This Inspection. An action plan addressing the high counts must be drawn up with plant management (See section 3.8 - Guidelines for completion of action plans & follow-ups).

3.7 Determinations of sanitation rating and plant rating

3.7.1 Today's inspection

The inspection assessment for an egg station is based on the level of sanitation on the day of the inspection and the outcome of the day's product inspections.

The Sanitation Rating will be based on the Total Points Lost for sections 1 to 4, or the points deducted for the more serious infractions in sections 3 and 4, whichever is greater.

  • Add up the Total Points Lost from sections 1-4 of the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report.
  • From the first column in Table I, determine if the plant is Excellent, Good, Fair, Serious or Critical using the Total Points Lost. For example, if the Total Points Lost are between 16 and 30, the plant would be considered Good.
  • Determine the points lost for sections 3 and 4.
  • Using the second column in Table I, determine if the plant is Excellent, Good, Fair, Serious or Critical based on maximum points lost for sections 3 and 4. For example, if between 6 and 25 points are lost in sections 3 and 4, the plant would be considered Fair.
  • The lower of the two descriptors will be ticked off under Today's Inspection on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report. For this example, the Fair box would be ticked off.
  • If a station receives a Non-Acceptable sanitation rating based on Table I (i.e. sanitation rating falls under Serious or Critical), immediate action is required. See section 3.8 - Guidelines for completion of action plans & follow-ups.

Note: Even if 0 points are lost for the entire inspection (Sections 1 through 4), demerits are to be assigned if product inspection level is at Normal or Tightened.

The Product Inspection Level will be based on the Reduced, Normal and Tightened inspection levels.

After completing the product inspection for that day, use the Switching Rules Tracking Form to determine the lowest product inspection level for all tracking categories (reduced is the highest level and tightened is the lowest level). Record this lowest inspection level in the box Product Inspection Level. If product in one category is not available for inspection that day, the previous product inspection level for that category is used. For a newly registered egg station, the Product Inspection Level would start at Normal.

Table I – Sanitation Rating and Product Inspection Level
Sanitation Rating Product Inspection Level
  Maximum Total
Points Lost
Maximum Points
Lost - Sections 3 & 4
Reduced Normal Tightened
Acceptable
Excellent 15 0 0 Demerits 1 Demerit 3 Demerit
Good 30 5 1 Demerits 2 Demerits 3 Demerits
Fair 50 25 2 Demerits 2 Demerits 3 Demerits
Non-Acceptable
Serious 70 45 5 Demerits 5 Demerits 5 Demerits
Critical >70 65 8 Demerits 8 Demerits 8 Demerits

3.7.2 Plant rating

The Plant Rating of an egg station is based on the sum of the demerits issued for This Inspection and the previous four inspections.

  • To determine the demerits for This Inspection, the results of the Sanitation Rating for the day's inspection and the Product Inspection Level are used in conjunction with Table I. For example, if the Sanitation Rating was found to be Fair and the Product Inspection level was Normal, Table I indicates that 2 demerits would be issued for This Inspection.
  • The number of demerits for the day's inspection is to be recorded in the This Inspection box on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report.
  • Fill in the demerits from the four previous inspections.
  • Determine the cumulative demerits by adding the demerits from the four previous inspections to the demerits from This Inspection.
  • Record the cumulative demerits in the Total Demerits box on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report.

Note: All newly registered egg stations are assigned an A rating to start with until 5 inspections are completed. During this period, the plant would continue to be rated A. After the 5 inspections are completed, the plant rating would be assigned based on the cumulative demerits from these inspections. For example, a plant may directly go from an A rating to a AAA rating at the end of the these 5 inspections.

The final Plant Rating is determined using Table II. For example, 6 total demerits would indicate a plant rating of Good or AA.

Table II - Plant Rating
Rating Cumulative demerits
Over 5 inspections
AAA Excellent 1
AA Good 2-7
A Fair 8-13 acceptable
B Critical >13 non-acceptable

If the total demerits are more than 13, the plant moves into a B rating. See Appendix II -Egg Station Rating System Protocol for B-rating Plants.

If a significant immediate health and safety risk is identified (e.g. rodent droppings on grading equipment), the operation may need to be suspended until the situation is corrected.

When the plant rating changes, the frequency of inspection level (FOIL) changes immediately.

3.7.3 Completing the inspection

Once the inspector has determined the plant rating, the inspector completes and signs the Egg Station Inspection / Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761), has the operator (or designate) sign the report, and provides a copy of the report for both the operator's and the inspector's files. Further copies may need to be distributed depending on the regional structure. The inspection results are discussed with the operator, and any items requiring corrective actions are also discussed and time lines agreed to.

3.8 Guidelines for completion of action plans & follow-ups

An action plan should be completed when:

  • major deviations or problems are encountered, regardless of the number of points lost on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761),
  • a minor item is identified 3 times on Egg Station Inspection/Rating Reports (CFIA/ACIA 3761),
  • Maximum Total Points Lost is greater than 50, or greater than 25 points are lost from Sections 3 and 4 (the sanitation rating is non-acceptable),
  • an egg station has a wash water result of over 1,000,000/g ACC (5 demerits assigned),
  • cooler temperatures exceed 13°C (55°F) for the ungraded cooler, or 10°C (50°F) for the graded cooler,
  • product moves to the tightened level during the day's product inspection,
  • a plant falls into a B rating (>13 cumulative demerits).

An action plan must:

  • be developed with plant management and recorded on an Action Plan Poultry/Egg Programs (CFIA/ACIA 2280) or Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109). Alternatively, plant management may submit a written action plan which addresses the items of concern.
  • provide an effective solution.
  • report all major deviations.
  • be specific, brief and to the point.
  • be clear in indicating a completion date for all action items and include short and long term solutions. The completion date must be reasonable in terms of what can be accomplished within the time constraint, but must take into account any food safety risks.
  • indicate interim measures, if applicable.

If an action plan does not meet the above criteria, it can be rejected.

Both the inspector and operator should sign the action plan (include inspector's name printed).
If a plant manager refuses to discuss, agree to and sign an action plan, the inspector is to indicate on the completed plan “Operator (name) refuses to discuss and sign action plan (date) at (time)”. The inspector should meet with their Inspection Supervisor and/or Inspection Manager for assistance.

On subsequent inspections, points are not deducted on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report CFIA/ACIA 3761) for items included in an action plan if the items are being completed as scheduled. Action plans should not be used to allow plants to delay repairs or corrections that could be done within a short period of time. Points will not be deducted for action plan items that are beyond the plant's control (e.g., concrete repairs that cannot be done in the winter). Where an interim measure can be implemented to address the problem in the short term, and the plant fails to do so, points will be deducted. Points may still be deducted for a section if an item other than the one covered by the action plan becomes unacceptable. Under no circumstances may the sanitation level of the station be allowed to deteriorate while under an action plan.

After each completion date has expired, a follow-up inspection is to be conducted to ensure effective corrective actions have been completed. The follow-up findings should be recorded on the Action Plan Poultry/Egg Programs (CFIA/ACIA 2280) or Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109). Completion dates may be extended if the station requests an extension in writing, prior to the completion date and, in the opinion of the inspector, the reason is valid. If the completion date of an item is not met, and there is no valid reason, points will automatically be taken off on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report CFIA/ACIA 3761) for this item. The inspector should meet with plant management to discuss why the action plan was not completed, and determine the next steps. If the plant refuses to cooperate, the Inspection Supervisor and/or Inspection Manager will be contacted for assistance and a review of the registration status of the plant may be initiated.

3.9 Other plant inspection activities

3.9.1 Pre-op inspection

The objective of a pre-op inspection is to evaluate whether adequate cleaning has been performed and ensure the plant's sanitation program is effective. The inspector should conduct pre-op inspections when environmental sampling is scheduled. Occasionally, additional pre-op inspections may be warranted. The cleanliness of all egg contact surfaces should be verified, paying special attention to the egg grading equipment. Results of the pre-op inspection should be recorded in the additional remarks section of the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761). If conditions are unsatisfactory, cleaning must take place before start-up.

Pre-operational inspection is a responsibility of plant management. The onus is on management to provide clean facilities and equipment for the production of a safe product. An effective sanitation program will reduce delays at start-up caused by unclean conditions.

3.9.2 Environmental sampling

For information on Environmental Sampling, see Chapter 6 - Shell Egg - Sampling.

3.9.3 Washwater sampling

For information on Wash water sampling, see Chapter 6 - Shell Egg - Sampling.

3.9.4 Compositional sampling (cholesterol, fatty acids, vitamin e)

For information on Compositional Sampling, see Chapter 6 - Shell Egg - Sampling.

3.9.5 Chemical residue sampling

For information on Chemical Residue Sampling, see Chapter 6 -Shell Egg - Sampling.

3.9.6 Review of registration file

The inspector should review all documents in an egg station's registration file a minimum of once every 2 years. They are to confirm that the registration information is complete and that details are up-to-date. All written programs should be reviewed to ensure that the responsible persons and procedures employed by the station have not changed. It should be verified that the station is maintaining all necessary program records. Any information that is out dated or missing is to be corrected. Details of the file review should be documented and signed by the inspector and plant management. An Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109) may be used for this purpose.

3.9.7 Light checks

Lighting in an egg station should be verified annually against registration requirements or more often if a deviation is thought to exist, or if there are changes in their lighting system. The light should be measured by holding the light meter on the work surface or parallel to the floor at a height of 1 meter (39 inch).

3.9.8 Non-food chemical checks

Once per station per year the inspector should verify that the list of chemicals supplied by the registered egg station is complete and up-to-date. All chemicals that are used in an area where eggs are prepared must be listed in the CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemicals or otherwise be demonstrated by the operator to be safe and effective for their use. These chemicals must be used as directed and for the purpose intended. Results of the chemical check should be documented. An Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109) may be used for this purpose.

3.9.9 Review of weekly grading volume

Once per year per station the inspector should review the establishment's weekly grading records to verify grading volume. Annual establishment inspection fees are based on average weekly grading volumes (including Canada Nest Run), therefore it is important for inspectors to check that establishments are reporting correctly. Should the establishment's records show that the establishment is not being charged the correct amount, the Area Egg Specialist should be contacted. The billing for that year may be amended or the correction will be highlighted for the coming fiscal year. Results of the review of weekly grading volume should be documented. An Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109) may be used for this purpose.

3.9.10 Review of station's water potability analyses

The egg station is responsible for using only potable water in its operations and providing an adequate supply of hot and cold potable water that is tested as outlined below. Potable water should be clear, without offensive taste and odor. Establishments must have a complete written and fully documented program in place to ensure they are continuously using safe/potable water in the preparation and processing of food. Laboratory results must be available for review by the inspector.

An inspector is to confirm a station has conducted the necessary water potability testing and received satisfactory results. As a minimum, this is to be done semi-annually (2/year) for stations using well water and annually (1/year) for those using municipal water. Details of the water potability review should be documented and signed by the inspector and plant management. An Inspection Report of Shell Eggs/Processed Egg (CFIA/ACIA 5109) may be used for this purpose.

3.9.10.1 Analyses for water potability

Frequency of Bacteriological Analysis

Establishments using well water require bacteriological analyses semi-annually (2/year) with satisfactory results. These samples should be taken in the spring and early fall. Establishments using municipal water require an annual analysis. Whenever a sample is submitted for bacteriological analysis, enumeration of coliforms and E. coli per 100 /ml should be requested. Total bacterial counts must also be provided whenever it can be obtained from the laboratory.

Water sample collection for analysis

The station should collect samples from locations within the egg station that provide water for production purposes. Sterile containers for the collection of samples and instructions regarding shipment should be supplied by the laboratories performing the analyses. Samples for bacteriological analyses may need to be collected in special containers. Chlorinated water for bacteriological analyses must be collected in containers with a neutralizing agent, normally 10% sodium thiosulfate solution used at the rate of 2 /ml per litre of water. When samples for chemical analysis are being submitted, they should preferably be collected at the end of the spring runoff or immediately following an extended period of wet weather.

Acceptable Methodology

Analyses shall be performed at provincial or municipal public health laboratories or at private laboratories. Private laboratories must be accredited by provincial authorities with relevant jurisdiction.

3.9.10.2 Minimum Acceptable Bacteriological Standards

  1. Coliform count: The objective level is no coliforms per 100 /ml of water. However, water may be judged bacteriologically acceptable provided the following tolerances are not exceeded:
    • no sample contains more than 10 total coliforms per 100 /ml of water or as per provincial guidelines, whichever is lower;
    • none of the coliform organisms detected are faecal coliforms.

      If any coliform organisms are detected, another sample shall be taken from the same site. If the presence of coliforms is confirmed, action shall be taken to determine the cause.

      If any faecal coliforms are detected, the plant must stop using that water source immediately. Water use from this source may resume only when the problem is confirmed to have been corrected.

  2. Total bacterial count: The objective level is less than 500 organisms per /ml. The result should be used as an indicator for quality control in comparison with other test results on record. A sudden rise over previous levels should be followed up by additional sampling and by an investigation to identify the source of the problem.

    Most laboratories do not automatically test for total counts, but will provide this service if requested. Total counts provide a valuable aid in assessing water quality; however the absence of total counts should not invalidate an otherwise satisfactory report.

3.9.10.3 Reporting of Test Results

Test results should be reported giving bacterial levels found. In addition, the laboratory should provide a statement to the effect that the water is judged to be potable or non-potable, on a bacteriological basis. If the laboratory does not provide this statement, then it will be the responsibility of the inspector to assess the test results based on the criteria provided in this section. If there is any doubt regarding this assessment, the inspector should contact their regional office for advice. Inspectors should review the results with plant management.

Certificates for water potability must be retained by the registered station for 3 years and be available for review by inspection staff.

3.9.10.4 Action if Limits are exceeded

When a test result indicates contamination exceeding the limits specified, follow-up sampling shall be initiated immediately and the problem reviewed with management. A positive follow-up sample requires remedial action. The necessary actions should be discussed among station management, the inspector, Area Program Specialist and other municipal/provincial specialists. Possible remedial actions may be:

  • switching to a non-contaminated source,
  • trucking in potable water,
  • chlorination or other chemical treatment as indicated.

Appendix I - Frequency of inspection levels

Table description

The minimum frequency of inspection for a registered egg station has been established based on volume throughput as follows

Boxes graded
per week
# Inspections/year
A Rating Plant
# Inspections/year
AA Rating Plant
# Inspections/year
AAA Rating Plant
>15,000 24 16 8
>3,000 - 15,000 24 16 8
>1,000 - 3,000 16 8 4
50 - 1000 8 6 4
<50 6 4 2
Table description

The following table is to be used as a guide for the amount of time it should take to perform a sanitation or product inspection at a registered egg station.

Boxes graded
per week
Sanitation
(time/visit)
Product
(time/visit)
Total
(time/visit)
>15,000 3 h 3 h 6 h
>3,000 - 15,000 2 h 2 h 4 h
>1,000 - 3,000 2 h 2 h 4 h
50 - 1000 2 h 1 h 3 h
<50 2 h 1 h 3 h

Appendix II - Rating Protocol

Egg station rating system protocol for B-rating plants

1. When the total demerits are over 13 due to a sanitation problemFootnote *, the egg station is placed into a B rating, and the following protocol must be followed:

  • the Regional and Area Offices are notified and a file is compiled summarizing the events leading to the B rating, including all reports completed during that period;
  • the Inspection Supervisor contacts the station management as soon as possible to alert them about the seriousness of the problems and the consequences of a B rating;
  • the Area Egg Specialist confirms in writing the consequences of a B rating;
  • the inspection frequency increases to double the level of A rating plants;
  • an action plan is drawn up using an Action Plan Poultry/Egg Programs (CFIA/ACIA 2280), outlining what the problems are and by what date these will be corrected;

Follow-up steps:

  • all points are deducted at subsequent inspections regardless of whether or not the item is covered under an action plan
  • points lost are recorded and the sanitation level is indicated but no plant rating or demerits are assigned
  • as soon as the station returns to an acceptable sanitation level based on points lost (Maximum Total Points Lost not more than 50, or not more than 25 points lost on Sections 3 and 4), the inspector begins counting five inspections.
  • a station requires 5 consecutive acceptable sanitation evaluations before reverting from a B rating to an Acceptable sanitation status. At this point, the frequency of inspection reverts back to the A frequency, but a plant rating is not assigned. The word Acceptable is written in the Plant Rating box on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761).
  • Demerits are assigned for the next five inspections while the station is in the Acceptable rating status
  • At the end of these five inspections, demerits are totalled and a rating is assigned (e.g. A)

2. When the total demerits are over 13 due to a product problemFootnote *, the station is placed into a B rating, and the following protocol must be followed:

  • the Regional and Area Offices are notified and a file is compiled summarizing the events leading to the B rating;
  • the Inspection Supervisor contacts the station management as soon as possible to alert them about the seriousness of the problems and the consequences of a B rating;
  • the Area Egg Specialist confirms in writing the consequences of a B rating;
  • the inspection frequency increases to double the level of A rating plants;
  • an action plan is drawn up using an Action Plan Poultry/Egg Programs (CFIA/ACIA 2280) outlining what the problems are and by what date these will be corrected;

Follow-up steps:

  1. at least 10 lots are inspected over a period of at least 2 inspections, to achieve the following results;
    • 5 consecutive acceptable lots, and at least 4 of the following 5 lots inspected must have no violations. (The inspector should take as many lots as practical of the grade and size in which the problem was found to ensure correction of the problem, however, other grades and sizes may be inspected at the inspector's discretion).
  2. product inspection level returns to Normal;
  3. for the next five inspections, Normal or N is written in the Product Inspection Level box , provided the inspector is satisfied that the product problem has been corrected. The word Acceptable is written in the Plant Rating box on the Egg Station Inspection/Rating Report (CFIA/ACIA 3761).
  4. demerits are assigned for the next five inspections while the station is in the Acceptable rating status.
  5. the product inspection level remains at Normal until these five inspections at the Acceptable rating status have been completed.
  6. At the end of these five inspections, demerits are totalled and a Plant Rating is assigned (e.g. A). Product inspection level is at Normal, and traditional Switching Rules begin.

3. When the B rating is caused by a product and sanitation problem, the station must conform with the requirements for both criteria.

  • The inspection frequency increases to double the level of A rating plants.
  • Follow the B rating follow-up steps for sanitation, as explained above.
  • During the initial 5 inspections to move the plant to an Acceptable status, complete the required minimum of 10 lots as described in the B rating follow-up steps for product.
  • Continue with the follow-up steps for sanitation.

4. If an unsatisfactory follow-up at a B rating station occurs,

  • the Deregistration Protocol for Egg Stations is initiated. See Chapter 11 - Shell Egg - Enforcement and Compliance, Appendix I, item 4.

5. If a plant receives two B ratings within a 12 month period,

  • the Deregistration Protocol for Egg Stations is initiated. See Chapter 11 - Shell Egg - Enforcement and Compliance, Appendix I, item 4.
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